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Full text of "The independent"

JARY/FEBRUARY V 



vV ^* 




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VT 







THE CULTURAL POLITICS 
OF RACE AND NATION 




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CONTENTS 



FEATURES 

1 6 Planes, Boats, Trains, and Other Liabilities: 
A Guide to Motion Picture Insurance 

by Renee Tajima 

1 9 Recoding Narratives of Race and Nation 

by Kpbena Mercer 

2 LETTERS 

4 MEDIA CLIPS 

Film Fuels Battle over Kentucky Coal 

by Patricia Thomson 

Sequels 

10 FIELD REPORT 

Primetime Advocates: 

The Better World Society's Documentary Productions 

by Lorna Johnson 

12 IN FOCUS 

Super 8 Salvage: Finding and Restoring Used Film Equipment 

by Bob Brodsky 

27 FESTIVALS 

Identity Crisis: The Lesbian and Gay Experimental Film Festival 

by Tom Kalin 

In Brief 

35 1988 INDIE AWARDS 

The Envelope Please... 

38 CLASSIFIEDS 

40 NOTICES 

44 MEMORANDA 

Summary of the Minutes of the AIVF/FIVF Board of Directors Meeting 



COVER: In Majdhar (Mid-stream), a dramatic feature by the British 
collective Retake, a Pakistani woman is brought to England by her 
husband, then abandoned. For her, independence has previously 
been equated with Westernization, and she becomes torn between 
two ways of life. In "Recoding Narratives of Race and Nation," 
Kobena Mercer discusses how films such as Majdhar participate in 
contemporary British cultural politics. Mercer's article describes and 
analyzes the historical formation of black independent filmmaking in 
Britain.encounters with and challenges to the traditional "race rela- 
tions" narrative, the development of a plurality of filmic styles by 
black British filmmakers, and other topics. Photo courtesy of the 
National Film Archive London. 




JANUARY/FEBRUARY1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 1 



LETTERS 



ftM&VOK>M0NTH.Y 



IN MEDIA RES 

To the editor: 

I read ihe report on the decision made b\ the New 
^ ork State Council on the Arts to merge its Film 
and Media Programs ["NYSCA Creates 
ControveiS) over Media Program.'' in "Media 
Clips "] in the December issue of The Indepen- 
dcm. As the tbrmerdirector of the Media Program. 
I am saddened and dismayed by these events. 
According to the report, the administrators at 
NYSCA sa\ that they decided to merge the two 
programs — which represents a significant philo- 
sophical change — as a simple matter of practical 
neccessity to save one staff person's salary . Addi- 
tionally, they say that this decision would not have 
been made had I not left the Council and that a 
similar merger of other programs at the Council 
might have happened if another program director 
had left instead. If this particular method of saving 
mone\ continues. I « orry about the long-cherished 
position of NYSCA as a visionary supporter of the 
arts. Above all. I am deeply concerned about the 
future of the Media Program. Almost as old as 
video art and a pioneer funder. the program has 
carefully nurtured video as art. It occupies an irre- 
placeable position in the history of video in this 
country and abroad. 

While it was not mentioned in the report. I 
understand that Council officials credit me with 
the idea for this merger. I believe I should clarify 
the context. In August 1985, the year I joined 
NYSCA. I wrote a memo entitled "Media Arts in 
the Year 2000." Mary Hays. NYSCA's executive 
director, asked all program directors to write 
similar analyses. I recommended the merger of 
the Film and Media Programs by 2000. In my 
memo. I described what I saw as the merits in an 
eventual merger. I believed that, if carried out 
thoughtfully, this would not obliterate the differ- 
ences between the two art forms but would enable 
the Council to respond more effectively to over- 
lapping elements not to mention some administra- 
ti\e simplifications. However. I stressed the fol- 
lowing: the budget for grant-making should not be 
less than the combined sum of the two programs: 
the timing of the merger should be carefully 
considered; and both fields — film and video — 
should be given ample opportunities to discuss all 
relevant issues and implications. Under no circum- 
stances should such a merger have the appearance 
of the Media Program being folded into the Film 
Program: this should be a merger of two equal 
programs. I envisioned it as a positive expansion 
of film and video under dynamic leadership. 

At the time of my departure from NYSCA. the 
Council proposed that my position be eliminated 
and the two programs merge. I was adamantly 
opposed. I argued that the time was not ripe and 
that, above all. the Council needed time to consult 



both fields. When the Council solicited applica- 
tions for the Media Progam director's position. I 
w as relieved. NaturalK . the abrupt announcement 
of the merger took me by surprise and distressed 
me deeply. 

I respective!) submit that the process by which 
the decision was made and the reasons given for 
the decision fundamentally violate the merger I 
had in mind. I take pride in my association with the 
Council, and I hope that NYSCA will reconsider 
the Media Alliance's request, as described in The 
Independent, "to declare a moratorium on the 
merger and convene a deliberative body to review 
the decision." 

— Dai 5/7 Kim-Gibson 
Washington. D.C. 



WANTED 



BOOKSTORE 

OUTLETS FOR 

THE INDEPENDENT 



Although The Independent is 
distributed to bookstores and 
newsstands across the coun- 
try, there are still many places 
where the magazine is hard to 
find. We would like to remedy 
this situation — but we need 
your help. If you are aware of 
a bookstore in your area that 
carries film, video, or televi- 
sion magazines, but doesn't 
stock The Independent, please 
let us know. Send the book- 
store name, address, phone, 
and if possible, the manager's 
name to: 

The Independent 

625 Broadway, 9th fl. 

New York, NY 10012 

attn: Pat Thomson 

or call 212/473-3400 



IhOEPEWENf 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1989 
VOLUME 12, NUMBER 1 



Publisher 

Editor 

Managing Editor 

Associate Editor 

Contributing Editors 



Editorial Staff: 
Production Staff: 

Art Director: 
Advertising: 

National Distributor: 



Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Patricia Thomson 
Renee Tajima 
Kathryn Bowser 
Bob Brodsky 
Karen Rosenberg 
Quynh Thai 
Toni Treadway 
Kelly Anderson 
Jeanne Brei 
Ruth Copeland 
Christopher Holme 
Andy Moore 
(212)473-3400 
Bernhard DeBoer 
113E. Center St. 
Nutley. NJ07110 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published ten times 
yearly by the Foundation for Independent 
Video and Film. Inc. (FIVF). 625 Broadway. 
9th Floor, New York. NY 10012. (212-473- 
3400), a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educa- 
tional foundation dedicated to the promo- 
tion of video and film, and by the Associa- 
tion of Independent Video and Filmmakers, 
Inc. (AIVF), the national trade association 
of independent producers and individuals 
involved in independent video and film. 
Subscription is included with membership in 
AIVF. Together FIVF and AIVF provide a 
broad range of educational and pro- 
fessional services for independents and the 
general public. Publication of The Indepen- 
dent is made possible in part with public 
funds from the New York State Council on 
the Arts and the National Endowment for 
the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be re- 
turned unless a stamped, self-addressed 
envelope is included. No responsibility is as- 
sumed for loss or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be 
addressed to the editor. Letters may be ed- 
ited for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foun- 
dation for Independent Video and Film, 
Inc., except where otherwise noted. 
Reprints require written permission and ac- 
knowledgement of the article's previous 
appearance in The Independent. ISSN 
0731-5198 The Independent is indexed in 
the Alternative Press Index. 

? Foundation for Independent Video and Film. Inc 1989 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin. ex- 
ecutive director; Ethan Young, membership/ pro- 
gramming director; Kathryn Bowser, festival bureau 
director; Morton Marks, audio/business manager. 
Sol Horowitz, Short Film Showcase project adminis- 
trator; Kelly Anderson, administrative assistant. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Robert 
Aaronson, Adnanne Benton, Skip Blumberg 
(treasurer), Christine Choy. Loni Ding (vice- 
presiaent), Lisa Frigand.* Dai Sil Kim-Gibson, Wendy 
Udell (secretary). Regge Life (chair). Tom Luddy." 
Lourdes Portillo. Robert Richter (president). 
Lawrence Sapadin (ex officio). Steve Savage," 
Deborah Shaffer. John Taylor Williams." 

• FIVF Board of Directors only 



2 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY1989 



FOR ALL 
YOUR FILM 
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NEEDS. 



Eastman 

Motion Picture Films 
Professional Video Tape 




EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY 

Motion Picture and Audiovisual Products Division 



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Chicago: 312/218-5174 
Dallas: 214/506-9700 



Hollywood: 213/464-6131 
Honolulu: 808/833-1661 
Montreal: 514/761-3481 



New York: 212/930-8000 
Rochester: 716/254-1300 
Toronto: 416/766-8233 



Vancouver: 604/987-8191 
Washinston, DC: 703/558-9220 



©Eastman Kodak Company, 1988 



MEDIA CLIPS 



FILM FUELS BATTLE OVER KENTUCKY COAL 



Midway through the documentary On Our Own 
Land, Sidne> Cornell stands on a hillside and 
gloomih surveys the heap of dirt that was once a 
green pasture. Although he owns this land, he 
could not stop the coal company from strip-min- 
ing it. Like many Kentucky families. Comett's 
ancestors signed a "broadform deed" around the 
turn of the century, selling the mineral rights for 
pennies an acre. Broadform deeds pre-date the de- 
velopment of strip mining, yet the Kentucky State 
Supreme Court has ruled twice in recent years that 
these deeds give coal companies access to the coal 
b> whatever means. 

While reclamation promises were made, "this 
pile of topsoil has been sitting here for four years, 
and you don't even see grass on it." Cornett tells 
the film crew from Appalshop, the media arts 
center in Whitesburg. Kentucky, which for 19 
years has documented the history, social issues, 
and culture of Appalachia. As they talk, a van rolls 
up. A burly man in his fifties named Keith gets out 
and immediately knocks down the camera opera- 
tor. Another man blocks Keith as he circles the 
camera crew and accuses Comett of trespassing. 
A pick-up truck pulls up w ith tw o of Keith's men. 
who silently watch. Comett manages to calm 
Keith down, but the confrontation is not easily 
forgotten. 

Kentuckians had the chance to watch this 
scene when KET. the state -owned, statew ide public 
television system, aired On Our Own Land on 
October 18. In one month Kentuckians were to 



vote on an amendment to the state constitution 
that would prohibit broadform deed strip-mining 
without the landowner's consent. Because the 
state legislature's unanimously passed statutes 
prohibiting broadform deed strip-mining had been 
struck down as unconstitutional by the state su- 
preme court, a popular vote was needed to change 
the constitution. 

On Our Own Land, by Anne Lewis Johnson 
and Appalshop staff, played a key role in alerting 
voters and attracting the interest of mainstream 
news media. Grassroots organizations, such as 
Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, actively 
canvassed for the amendment. But the KET screen- 
ing of Appalshop's documentary was the first 
time the issue received in-depth, statew ide media 
coverage. Most voters were not familiar with the 
issue, which directly effects only 10 out of the 
state's 120 counties. Another obstacle was the 
language of the amendment. According to Dee 
Davis, executive producer of Appalshop Films. 
'"The ballot is w ritten in horrible legalese. No one 
can read it. so it's necessary to translate for the 
people through the press." Otherwise, "if people 
don't understand a referendum, they'll vote against 
changing the constitution." 

On Our Own Land was able to help turn this 
relatively obscure issue into a hotly debated elec- 
tion topic for tw o reasons. First is the strength of 
the tape itself. Alongside Cornett 's story are tales 
of a businessman being dragged from his bed and 
thrown in jail because of refusing access to a coal 



company. An elderly widow recalls how she was 
told to move her husband's grave to make way for 
a mining site. Equally eloquent are the aerial shots 
of mountains defaced and shorn of their forests. 
Another factor was the controversy that blew up 
around On Our Own Land, generated by KET's 
decision to postpone its airing until after the 
election follow ing pressure from the coal compa- 
nies. KET quickly reversed its decision, but the 
surrounding hubbub put local journalists on the 
story's trail. 

Originally. On Our Own Land was scheduled 
to air on election eve as part of Appalshop's 
primetime weekly series Headwaters. The timing 
was a coincidence that neither Appalshop nor 
KET noted — at least until some coal company 
executives, having received a flyer listing Head- 
waters' fall season, complained to KET's execu- 
tive director, O. Leonard Press. Press questioned 
the station programmers, who in turn decided that 
an election eve broadcast would be unfair, leaving 
the coal industry no opportunity to respond. 
Acknowledging that the documentary allowed 
considerable airtime to coal industry heavy- 
weights like Tom Duncan, executive director of 
the Kentucky Coal Association. KET neverthe- 
less told Davis that the show was "too strong" to 
air on election eve. KET turned down Davis' 
proposal for a panel discussion following the 
screening. 

The next day, Appalshop got a call from a 
Lexington newspaper reporter. Word was out that 



Coal companies in Kentucky have 
been allowed to strip-mine on 
private property without the land- 
owners' consent because of 
"broadform deeds" dating from the 
turn of the century. Appalshop's 
documentary, On Our Own Land, 
helped trigger a statewide debate 
on the issue. 



Courtesy Appalshop 




4 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY1989 




EVERYONE THOUGHT NOBODY LISTENED 

WAS SHOT IN 35mm. 
ONLY WE KNEW IT WASN'T 

Budget constraints made them shoot in 16mm. 

Then they had to use a lot of archival footage. 

In 35mm, in 16mm. Much of it in a sorry condition. 

Some material had been transferred to video— 

several times, generation after generation. In spite 

of all, the film's look has been hailed in reviews and 

film festivals. 

NOBODY LISTENED, the film by Nestor Almendros 

and Jorge Ulla about human rights. 

We at Du Art did the blow-up, from 16mm to 35mm. 

And we've got everyone listening now. 

To what the film says, not what went into it. 



DuArt Film 



DuArt Video 



BLOW-UPS BY DU ART 



Du Art Film Laboratories, Inc. 245 West 55th Street, New York, NY 10019 • (212) 757-4580 • Telex: 640253 • Fax: (212) 333-7647 



The Suffolk County 

Motion Picture and 

Television Commission 

presents 



SUFFOLK 

COUNTY 

FILM & VIDEO 

FESTIVAL 

Call for Entries 

for 

1989 



Entry Forms: 

SUFFOLK COUNTY 

MOTION PICTURE/TV 

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Office of Economic Development ■ 
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516-360-4800 



the program had been rescheduled because of its 
content. Newspaper articles and editorials soon 
followed. The first editorial w as in the Whitesburg 
paper. "In all these years, it was the first time they 
ran an editorial on our behalf," says Davis. 'They 
clobbered the public television station." 

"When (he press got involved, KET decided to 
re\ lew their decision," Davis explains. He readily 
acknowledges KET has always been willing to 
run risky Appalshop programs in the past, in one 
case airing a show after receiving a bomb threat. 
KET's Press insisted that the postponement of On 
Our Own Land was not a censorship issue — since 
it was never not going to be aired — but a policy 
issue, concerning the decision to air an advocacy 
program on election eve. 

Nonetheless, Press called on a panel of three 
journalism professors to review KET's decision. 
The panel unanimously agreed the film should not 
be show n on election eve but also found that "the 
film is too important a statement about an election 
issue to be completely w ithheld from Kentuckians. 
KET should consider broadcasting the documen- 
tary as soon as possible, but with the review 
panel's comments about its powerful slant, and 
with a half-hour following the film for those 
opposed to the Broadform Deed Amendment to 
present their point of view." KET promptly re- 
scheduled On Our Own Land with a panel discus- 
sion for the following week. 

Once the KET news story faded, however, the 
broadform deed issue managed to stay alive, actu- 
ally snowballing during the three weeks between 
the telecast and the election. The coal industry 
launched a last-minute, quarter-million dollar 
media blitz, but to no avail. The Broadform Deed 
Amendment passed in every county, drawing 82 
percent of the vote. What role did Appalshop's 
program play? In Davis' view, "A big part. Noth- 
ing is as effective as a huge grassroots organiza- 
tion, and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth had 
been working on this a long time. But what we did 
w as take it into a public forum and let people get 
an understanding of the issue in moving pictures. 
We let them see the expanse of destruction and let 
the people talk who w ere directly affected, not just 
the usual bunch of lawyers and muckity-mucks. 
We gave a voice to the poor and the landowners." 

Conventional wisdom among pundits and press 
about television's role in the elective process says 
that those with the biggest war-chests win. This 
year Kentuckians proved them wrong. Appal- 
shop's film cost $25.000 — a mere tenth of what 
the coal industry spent on its last-minute cam- 
paign. Their victory is one that goes beyond 
Kentucky's borders, providing an example to 
other grassroots producers and organizers. 

PATRICIA THOMSON 

SEQUELS 

The U.S. finally joined the Berne Convention, 

the 100-year-old copyright treaty between 76 — 



now 77 — countries ["The Limits of Copyright: 
Moral Rights and the Berne Convention," May 
1988], when President Reagan signed legislation 
enabling this move in early November. A contro- 
versial provision allowing protection of artists' 
moral rights — recognized by all signatories of the 
Convention to date — was omitted from the ver- 
sion of the legislation that finally gained Congres- 
sional approval. In coverage of this news in the 
trade press, the reduction of piracy abroad is 
presented as the treaty's major impact. 

nan 

In the protracted battle between cable operators 
and municipalities being waged in the U.S. dis- 
trict courts, the cable operators recently scored a 
victory ["Cable Feels the Heat," June 1988]. In 
Century Federal Inc. vs. Palo Alto, a judge for the 
Northern District of California ruled in October 
that the five percent cable franchise fee requested 
by Palo Alto was unconstitutional. Judge Eugene 
Lynch said that the fee "impermissibly discrimi- 
nates against exercising protected First Amend- 
ment rights." as the city "singled out one class of 
users (of public rights-of-way), cable operators." 
The National Cable Television Association's 
response has been relatively subdued, owing to 
their reluctance to further strain relations between 
the cable industry and local municipalities and 
their fear that Congress might revisit the 1984 
Cable Act. 

nan 

The American Civil Liberties Union is preparing 
to file a lawsuit against the American Cablevision 
system in Kansas City, Missouri on behalf of the 
local branch of the Ku Klux Klan ["Sequels," 
October 1988]. The ACLU's draft complaint, 
charging infringement of the Klan's First Amend- 
ment rights to free speech on Kansas City public 
access cable, was initiated after the Kansas City 
local government passed a resolution that allowed 
the cable company to convert its public access 
channel into a local origination channel. The 
cable company then asserted its right to program 
the channel and denied the KKK access. 

□ □ □ 

The elusive American Cinemateque. brainchild 
of ex-Filmex director Gary Essert, is now prom- 
ised a home, according to the organization's 
newsletter ["Hollywood Babylon: The Filmex 
Story," April 1986]. Appropriately, the Cinema- 
teque will be part of a complex surrounding the 
Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, dubbed 
the Holly wood Promenade. The Cinemateque will 
own a free-standing, four-story building within 
the development, where it plans to house "three 
state-of-the-art theaters, a multi-media lab, cafe- 
bar, bookstore, exhibition gallery, offices and 
study facilities." The $300-million real estate 
project is envisioned as one component of a plan 
for the revitalization of Hollywood and endorsed 
by Los Angeles city officials. 



6 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY1989 






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nan 

The launch of the French telecommunications 
satellite, TDF-1. that seemed iffy a few months 
ago. v\as proclaimed successful in early Novem- 
ber. The delays in the satellite's flight plan were 
not technical but economic; broadcasters have 
been reluctant to rent transponders at the high 
rates demanded by the French government agency 
responsible for the project. However, TDF-1 is 
the promised vehicle for La Sept. the public 
cultural channel that presently shares time with 
another channel on French TV ["Le PAF: The 
Changing French Audio-Visual Landscape." 
August/September 1 988, and "Sequels," Novem- 
ber 1988]. 

□ □ □ 

On November 1 1, when New York State's mid- 
year financial report was released. Governor Mario 
Cuomo announced that the state's previously 
projected budget deficit had grow n to S 1 .9-billion 
from approximately SI -billion. This deficit is 
largely the result of a shortfall in anticipated tax 
revenues, due to changes in the Federal tax law of 
1986. Cuomo instituted a hiring freeze and re- 
quested emergency budget cutting powers — a 
move the State Assembly is not expected to ap- 
prove. 

Earlier in the year, when a budget gap became 
apparent and. like other state agencies, the New- 
York State Council on the Arts had to make 
budget cuts and faced a hiring freeze, this became 
the justification for merging NYSCA's Film and 
Media Programs ["N YSCA Creates Controversy 
over Media Program." December 1988]. The 
current hiring freeze, effective through the 1988/ 
89 fiscal year which ends March 1 . and the pros- 
pect of future cut-backs makes this merger appear 
all the more likely to take place, despite protests 
from New York State media artists and organiza- 
tions. 



FIVF TAPE LIBRARY 



The FIVF Festival Bureau has estab- 
lished a tape library of members' current 
works to expedite screenings for up- 
coming film and video festivals. Mem- 
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in the library should contact: Kathryn 
Bowser, Festival Bureau director, FIVF, 
625 Broadway, 9th floor, New York, 
NY 10012,(212)473-3400. 

1/2" and 3/4" tapes will be accepted. 



8 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY1989 



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FIELD PEPORT 



PRIMETIME ADVOCATES: THE BETTER WORLD 
SOCIETY'S DOCUMENTARY PRODUCTIONS 




Superstation TBS 
aired BWS' Terror 
Trade: Buying the 
Bomb, which claims 
that 2,500 drums ot 
nuclear material 
were diverted to 
Libya and Pakistan 
in 1988. 

Courtesy Better World 
Society 



Lorna Johnson 



The internationalist impulses of media moguls 
can be used to consolidate profits or increase com- 
munications about global concerns. Credit Ted 
Turner, founder and CEO of Turner Broadcast- 
ing, with pursuing both. In June 1985. Turner 
founded the Better World Society, a nonprofit 
media organization that commissions, acquires, 
and coordinates the broadcast of documentaries 
on the nuclear arms race, world population, and 
environmental resources. BWS director Tom 
Belford explains. "We use TV in an advocacy 
mode. We want to use TV as aggressively as we 
can. less as an art form and more as a communica- 
tions tool." 

"Every major project has been a partnership 
with either a nonprofit group or non-U. S. broad- 
caster." Belford states, adding that foreign broad- 
casters often have more flexibility in program- 
ming than their U.S. counterparts. When asked 
about collaborations with U.S. broadcasters, 
Belford replies. "We have never been able to 
make the link. Our major hurdle is that we are a 
point-of-view organization." Recent BWS pro- 
grams include a pre-election program about popu- 
lar views on nuclear arms, entitled Mandate for 
Mainstreet and coproduced with the Union of 



Concerned Scientists. Another 1988 production. 
Terror Trade: Buying the Bomb, examines the 
black market trade in components used in the 
manufacture of nuclear weapons and was copro- 
duced with Channel Fourin the U.K. The interna- 
tional birth control organization Planned Parent- 
hood coproduced Increase and Multiply, which 
deals w ith population control in the Third World. 
Only One Earth, another BWS project, was copro- 
duced with the British Broadcasting Corporation, 
the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and the 
Italian network RAI. It is an 1 1 -part series explor- 
ing environmental issues which offers examples 
of how development can be accomplished with- 
out harming the environment. 

Although Turner personally provided the seed 
money for BWS. the organization quickly devel- 
oped other sources of support. In 1 988. out of a S2- 
million budget. 1 percent came from Turner and 
the remainder raised from BWS" 26.000 mem- 
bers, private foundations, corporations, and con- 
tributions from wealthy supporters. Over the past 
three years, the organization has received support 
from approximately 20 foundations, including the 
W. Alton Jones Foundation, the George Gund 
Fund, the Rockefeller Family Associates, the John 
D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the 
Plough Shares Fund, and the Peace Development 
Fund. 



Like its mandate, the board of directors of 
BWS is genuinely international, reading like a 
United Nations roster that includes former U.S. 
president Jimmy Carter, under secretary general 
of the United Nations Yasushi Akashi, former 
president of Costa Rica Dr. Rodrio Carazo, Nor- 
wegian prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. 
and Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, co-chair of the 
independent commission on International Hu- 
manitarian Issues. The main task of this group is 
to set priorities for BWS, which, in 1989, will be 
programs concerning the environment. They also 
lend their expertise to projects. For instance. Khan 
served as executive director and also provided 
part of the funding for Terror Trade. 

It is the day-to-day work of BWS' staff of 
seven, however, that determines what specific 
programs will receive the organization's support. 
They select project ideas from the proposals sent 
by broadcasters and independent producers. Ac- 
cording to Belford. "Eighty percent are from inde- 
pendent producers." Projects are also initiated by 
the staff. Since they do no production in-house. 
BWS frequently relies upon the contracted ser- 
vices of independents. "We are a vehicle that in- 
dependent producers should be looking at to get 
their productions on the air," Belford says. In 
addition to acting as the agent for acquired pro- 
grams. BWS contracted with independent 



10 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY1989 



filmmaker Robert Richter to produce Increase 
and Multiply; Sherry Jones made Mandate for 
Mainstreet: and Rachel Lyon produced Unfin- 
ished Symphony, which commemorates scientific 
and cultural exchanges between the U.S. and the 
Soviet Union over the past 30 years. 

The contractual agreements between B WS and 
producers vary. "If we commission a program 
outright, then we control all the rights," states 
Belford. If it's a partially funded product and, for 
example, B WS provides 530,000 finishing funds, 
then, he says, "that's a stickier issue." No matter 
what the agreement, he explains, "I'm demanding 
certain distribution rights." When Dark Circle — 
a program examining plutonium processing, 
nuclear weapons construction, and environmental 
contamination at the Rocky Flats plant in Colo- 
rado — was rejected by PBS after agreeing to the 
broadcast, BWS telecast it on WTBS. The pro- 
ducers were paid a license fee for that acquisition. 
In the case of Women — For America, For the 
World, one of three segments of the series Ending 
the Nuclear Arms Race, BWS provided money for 
promotion. After reading about the organization 
and its belief in advocacy television, Robert Rich- 
ter contacted them. Months later he was asked to 
produce Increase And Multiply. Before he joined 
the production BWS had finished research for the 
program and some filming. Richter then took 
over. Since his role constituted work-for-hire, 
BWS retained the rights over final cut and the 
distribution of the material. 



If 





When collaborating with foreign broadcasters 
like Channel Four and the BBC, BWS receives 
U.S. distribution rights and the U.K. rights go to 
the broadcaster. Whatever international sales result 
are split between the two producers. Belford 
explains that BWS uses various U.S. distributers 
for their programs because they prefer working 
with organizations that will promote a particular 
program most effectively. "We want to dissemi- 
nate the message, not make off-air distribution a 
profit center," he says. To date the BWS has con- 
centrated its distribution efforts on the Turner 
Broadcasting Station, the Discovery Channel on 
cable, and the Public Broadcasting Service. When 
shown on TBS, the superstation usually assumes 
the cost of promotion for the program, and most 



Increase and Multiply, 
directed by independent 
producer Robert Richter, 
was coproduced for 
television by the Better 
World Society, a 
nonprofit media 
organization created by 
Ted Turner. BWS supports 
documentaries on the 
arms race, world 
population, and 
environmental resources. 

Courtesy Better World Society 



BWS programs are aired two or three times during 
primetime. Women — For America, For the World 
was aired three times during a two-month period, 
slotted after 10 p.m. and before 1 1. Along with 
telecasting their programs BWS distributes some 
on VHS at very inexpensive prices, ranging from 
$20 to S50 for the entire 1 1 parts of Only One 
Earth. 

For more information about the Better World 
Society, contact them at 1 140 Connecticut Ave- 
nue, N.W., Suite 1006, Washington, D.C. 20006. 



Lorna Johnson is a researcher for Film News Now 
Foundation and a freelance writer. 



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JANUARY/FEBRUARY1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 11 



IN FOCUS 

SUPER 8 SALVAGE: FINDING AND RESTORING 
USED FILM EQUIPMENT 



Bob Brodsky 



During a recent trip to New York City I was 
approached by several film teachers who are having 
an increasingly difficult time maintaining enough 
equipment to pro\ide adequate experience for 
their students. Most teachers are reluctant to aban- 
don hands-on classes in favor of purely theoretical 
instruction, so finding serviceable equipment of 
any age has become a necessary component of 
teaching film in all but the most affluent settings. 

nan 

Whatever spills out of the closet or tech room, 
some needed items will be missing: certain types 
of cameras, projectors, viewers, splicers, rewinds, 
sound recording and mixing paraphernalia. The 
search for viable used equipment begins with the 
question: Who has it? Travellers, hobbyists, and 
even veterans of World War II, Korea, and Viet- 
nam have lots of small gauge equipment, which 
often hasn't been used for years. Go to their clubs: 
the fraternal, golf, tennis, boat. art. hobby, photo, 
travel clubs, or churches and synagogues. Post 
three-by-five cards requesting the equipment. 
Don't be too specific; say something like. "Wanted 
Old Movie Equipment, especially an 8 and 1 6mm 
film viewer" and add to your name "teacher." Go 
in person to post your card prominently on their 
bulletin board, but if you can't, mail it. Ask that 
your inquiry be published in a club's newsletter. 
Don't overlook the many corporations that have 
bulletin boards and newsletters for managers; 
make your needs known there. That may not be as 
much work as it at first appears. 

Accept every donation, even if only of anti- 
quarian interest. Acknowledge it on the phone and 
then in writing, saying you're searching for other 
items. Such correspondence may unearth some- 
thing you really do need from a friend of the initial 
donor. Publish a telephone number where mes- 
sages can be left for you. 

If you have abudget forpurchasing equipment, 
make sure that it applies to the purchase of used 
equipment as well as new. In institutions sup- 
ported by public funds you may have to receive 
approval for purchases over a certain amount. 
Such oversight is supposed to insure that your 
purchases are at fair market value, which you can 
establish by keeping those who grant approval 
supplied with copies of Shutterbug magazine.* 




Basic film equipment 
restoration kit, including 
everything but lens 
tissue: small screw- 
drivers, fine point 
tweezers, pencil and 
ballpoint erasers, emery 
board, close-up glasses, 
volt and current meter, 
film path swabs, and 
wax. 

Photo: Bob Brodsky 



Some teachers at tax-supported institutions are 
able to purchase used equipment on a regular basis 
by obtaining pre-approval within set limits, al- 
lowing them to comb flea markets, collectable 
shops, and the used equipment shelves of photo 
stores for needed items. Sometimes classified ads 
in the video sections of convenience store week- 
lies will pry old film equipment from camcorder 
enthusiasts. Small budgets can go a long way in 
acquiring used film equipment. And don't over- 
look suppliers of new equipment when seeking 
used equipment. Several names are listed at the 
end of this article. 

nan 

Once you've located the equipment, never put 
film — even a test film — into an uncleaned piece 
of equipment. A readily available home furniture 
wax, Johnson's Lemon Pledge, can be used to 
clean and lubricate film channels. It will not 
damage any plastic or metal surface (including 
audio recording heads), but keep it away from 
lenses and other optical parts. It eases the passage 
of film and helps prevent misregistration, jitter, 
and film damage. Corroded surfaces, such as 
battery terminals, need scraping and polishing 
with (according to the depth of corrosion) a pencil 
eraser, ball point pen eraser, very fine abrasive 



* Shutterbug. 5211 S. Washington Ave.. Box F, Ti- 
tusville. FL 3278 1 : (305) 269-321 1 . Best listing of used 
photographic equipment (8mm. super 8. 16mm, still). 



paper, or an emery board. Roller guides on sync 
blocks, film viewers, editing tables, tape record- 
ers, and projectors can be set running freely with 
a dry spray Teflon lubricant, such as Elmer's 
Slide-All. available in hardware stores. 

Lenses and lamp reflectors should be cleaned 
only with lens cleaning tissue and lens cleaning 
liquid (never use eyeglass wipes), available from 
photo stores. Re-lamp all old projectors and view- 
ers. Replacement lamps are available and will put 
out a brighter, more even light. If the equipment is 
powered by ordinary flashlight batteries, pur- 
chase alkaline batteries for it (probably at dis- 
count from lamp suppliers). Alkaline batteries 
provide the added power to get neglected belt and 
gear drives turning smoothly. Run old cameras for 
short intervals at normal speed without film until 
they begin running smoothly. Then you are ready 
to begin testing them. 

□ □ □ 

Before put into actual use, cameras should be 
tested with film. One minute's worth of any type 
of handily processed film per camera will do, 
which means you will be able to test three cameras 
with a single spool or film cartridge. 

You will be testing for at least three factors: 

1 . Even registration of the frames. 

2. Even exposure from frame to frame. 

3. Dependability of the auto exposure system, if 
the camera has one. 

4. Satisfactory back focus, the camera's ability to 
render a sharp image at the film plane, espe- 
cially if the camera has a zoom lens. 



12 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1989 



5. Sound quality of single system sound recording 
cameras 

Frame registration is where the camera places 
successive frames in relation to the sprocket holes. 
If these regularly occur in the same place, the 
filmed images will be free from jitter. Begin this 
test by cleaning the camera gate with a few swipes 
from a clean old toothbrush or eyebrow brush and 
a puff of your breath to remove any debris caught 
in the camera gate. Then carefully load the film. 
On a piece of light or white cardboard (such as an 
opened file folder), take a broad marker and write 
something to identify this particular camera and 
the date. Place the cardboard in direct light, enough 
light to permit an exposure of about f/4 to f/5.6 
when the cardboard occupies the bottom half of 
the frame and something else of a much darker 
tone occupies the top half. Put the camera on a 
tripod, if convenient, but hand-holding will suf- 
fice. Frame the image so that the cardboard ex- 
tends below the bottom of the frame. If the camera 
has a diopter adjustment, set it by defocusing the 
lens and adjusting the viewfinder screen until it is 
as sharp as possible to your eye. If there is a split- 
image focusing screen, adjust it until the center- 
line etching is sharp. Then focus carefully on the 
image by zooming in (if the camera has a zoom 
lens) or by measuring the distance from the card- 
board to where the film plane is in the camera and 
setting the lens accordingly. On a zoom lens 
camera set the focal length to widest angle. 

If the camera has a microphone connection and 
you are testing with sound film, plug in a micro- 
phone of known quality (not the microphone that 
came with the camera unless you have tested it 
with a tape recorder and are satisfied with its 
quality). Place the mic at least six feet from the 
camera and, while running off 20 seconds of film, 
read something to be recorded on the sound stripe. 
Then disconnect the microphone and run off 
another 10 seconds without moving the camera. 
Use the remaining 30 seconds of the test to shoot 
five or six close-up scenes, both at telephoto and 
wide angle settings, in a range of lighting situ- 
ations, remembering to focus carefully at full 
telephoto extension, and making sure any macro 
rings are turned off. 

Project the processed film in a fully darkened 
room. Raise the frame line to see if it widens and 
narrows (the cardboard gets alternately wider and 
narrower top-to-bottom) or if a black frame line 
alternately appears and disappears. If so, the camera 
has a registration problem. If an otherwise fine 
camera appears to have a registration problem, do 
one more short registration test with it after having 
thoroughly cleaned the film channel again with 
Lemon Pledge Furniture Wax on a cotton swab. 
This procedure has saved more than one camera 
from the junk bin. 

Be careful to distinguish camera misregistra- 
tion from projector misregistration. Projector 
registration error is evident when the entire image 
on the screen jitters up and down. Camera regis- 
tration error is evident when the frameline is 



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raised onto the screen and the top and the bottom 
of the frame appear to jitter in opposing direc- 
tions 

Projection will also reveal evenness of expo- 
sure between one frame and the next (indicating 
evenness of film transport) and auto exposure 
acceptability (indicated by overall correctness of 
the exposure of scenes). Uneven exposure of 
scenes produces an exaggerated flicker. Auto 
exposure problems are indicated by a variance in 
exposure from the beginning to the end of a scene. 
Most auto exposure systems take about one sec- 
ond to settle on the correct exposure. Usually, 
pressing the camera release slowly allows the 
correct exposure to be set before film rolls. 

If the telephoto scenes are out of focus, it is 
probably due to a missetting of the eyepiece 
diopter, which will then give an incorrect indica- 
tion of focus. If the wide angle scenes are out of 
focus, the back-focus is out of adjustment, or a 
macro focusing ring was in the wrong position. 
Proper back focus can only be set by a trained 
technician, preferably at a factory authorized shop. 

The most common complaint about salvaged 
projectors and viewers is film scratching. Usually 
the scratches are caused by accumulated grit and 
bits of film, all of which can be removed by a 
careful cleaning w ith Lemon Pledge. Project your 
test roll repeatedly, looking for new scratches and 
abrasions on successive passes. Sometimes an 
errant tool has placed a burr on a roller or in the 
film channel. With a bright light and magnifier, 
search out the offending part, which will probably 
have some accumulation of film emulsion or base 
around it. Polish out the burr with a fine emery 
board, then clean and test again. There is an 
abrasive film that often works on this type of 
problem: Protect-o-Print leader (available from 
cine supply houses). Since it is abrasive on only 
one side, splice together two three foot lengths, 
one of them reversed, to polish both front and back 
of the film path. Protect-o-Print should not be 
used on projectors with magnetic sound heads that 
cannot be disengaged, since it abrades the audio 
heads. No matter how desperate you are for a 
projector, don't buy one in which you cannot get 
access to the entire film path for cleaning. 

There are other projector and viewer ailments 
that have easy remedies. Uneven projector light- 
ing can be adjusted out. To silence squeaks, spray 
dry Teflon lubricant around the moving parts and 
on belts after removing the lens and lamp and 
covering the reflector. 

A common ailment that's harder to fix is hum 
in the audio. In optical sound, projector hum is 
generated by stray light falling on the sound pick- 
up. Improve the light shielding around the pick- 
up. In both optical and magnetic sound projectors 
improper electrical grounding of the circuits can 
cause varying amounts of hum. This is most 
frequent when the projector is connected to an 
external device, such as an amplifier that has its 
own AC power supply. Try removing the ground 
wire from either the projector or the amplifier. 

Magnetic sound projectors create hum from 



magnetic fields set up by their own motors or 
power supplies. Moveable hum-cancelling wire 
coilsare often placed near the sound heads. Moving 
them very slightly will often cancel almost all of 
the hum. Eumig, Kodak, and Elmo projectors all 
have hum-bucking coils for this purpose. 

Motorized viewers tend to lose their switching 
capability after years of neglect. Spray the switches 
with TV tuner cleaner with lubricant (available 
from Radio Shack stores), being careful not to 
spray it on the optical parts. Then exercise the 
switch until the contacts are clean. 

Correct cable connectors and connections must 
not be taken for granted in old equipment. It's easy 
to mistake an incorrect or different wiring of a 
connector for a broken wire. A monophonic con- 
nector will often connect with a stereo one, but the 
signal will pass intermittently. After you' ve sorted 
out these problems, spray the connectors' con- 
tacts with TV tuner cleaner. 

Audio recorders associated with film equip- 
ment tend to suffer from neglect and can often be 
made usable with Teflon lubrication on moving 
parts and TV tuner cleaner on their contacts. 

Teachers utilizing these techniques will find 
that a great deal of serviceable old filmmaking 
equipment can be resurrected, returned to the 
marketplace, and restored to provide many years 
of service for them and successive generations of 
students. 

□ □ □ 

Chambless Productions 

Jesse and Theda Chambless, 2488 Jewel St., At- 
lanta. GA 30344; (404) 767-5210. High-end used 
equipment. Catalogue. 

Craig Editor/Viewer 

Kalart Victor Corporation, Plainville, CT 06062: 
(203)747-1663. 

47th St. Photo 

67 W. 47th St. (and other locations), New York. 
NY; (212) 398-1410. Mail order: 36 E. 19th St.. 
New York, NY 10003: (800) 221-7774; (212) 
260-4410. Equipment, sometimes. Try to get 
through on Sunday mornings. 

Halmar Enterprises 

Hal and Mary Cosgrove. Box 474, Lewiston, NY 
14092; (416) 356-6865. Fuji Post-Recording film 
(sound film in cartridges for Fujica silent cam- 
eras), w ide-screen and other wonderful widgets. 
Connections to Single 8 Association (for Fuji 
equipment). 

Hunt Co. (Hunt Drug) 

Jeff Newman. 1 00 Main St., Melrose, MA 02 1 76; 
(617) 662-8822. Bogen tripods, silent and sound 
super 8 Kodachrome 40, Kodachrome 25 and 40 
(for regular 8), Sony Walkman Pros, occasionally 
super 8 cameras, projectors, viewers. 400' and 
1200' reels. 

JAC Cine 

Jim Carpenter, Box 1321. Meadville. PA 16335- 
0821; (814) 333-8672. Call 7 a.m.-4 p.m. or 7 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY1989 



p.m. -midnight. Reliable supplier of microphones 
and audio recorders, sometimes cameras and 
projectors. 

Russ' Camera 

1025 State St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101; (805) 
963-9558. 

Super8 Sound 

Philip Vigeant, Guy, or Doc, 95 Harvey St., 
Cambridge, MA 02140; (617) 876-5876 

Super8 Sync Sound System 

Philip Vigeant, 2805 W. Magnolia Blvd., Bur- 
bank, CA 91505; (818) 848-5522. Exclusively 
super 8 trade. Nizo, Elmo, Chinon. Beaulieu, new 
cameras, and projectors. Super8 Sound Recorders 
and editing benches. Viewers, Wurker splicers, 
supplies. Used equipment. Repairs. 

International Center for 8mm Film and Video 

Toni Treadway runs an informal, free clearing- 
house for filmmakers looking for or trying to sell 
specific items. Call her, or leave a message at 
(617)666-3372. 



Bob Brodsky is based in Somen'ille, Massa- 
chusetts, where he recently completed the third 
edition o/Super 8 in the Video Age, coauthored 
with Toni Treadway. 

© 1989 Bob Brodsky 



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JANUARY/FEBRUARY1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 15 



Trains, Boats, Planes, 



Renee Tajima 



(Author's note: This article is an overview only and touches on issues that 
frequently affect independent producers. Use the information presented 
here as a guideline when you work directly with a recognized insurance 
broker in purchasing the appropriate production package policy for your 
specific needs. This article is presented only for the purpose of educating 
independent film- and videomakers and is not to he taken as financial or 
legal advice. I 



The prospect of buying motion pictlre inslrance is something like 
personal health coverage. You'd be surprised how many people figure 
that if they're young, healthy, and cautious they needn't bother with the 
time and expense of researching and 
procuring an insurance policy. But. given the 
unpredictable nature of film- and video- 
making, it pays to gamble on the side of 
protection. This article is a survey of the 
various types of insurance most commonly 
used in independent production, based on a 
seminar conducted by Bud Krause of D.R. 
Reiff & Associates insurance brokers and 
attorney Paula R. Shaap (available on tape 
from AIVF), as well as my own experiences 
as a producer. 

Motion picture insurance is specialized, 
and only a handful of insurance carriers are 
experienced in providing this kind of cover- 
age. It can cover everything from injured 
animals to defective videotape, all sizes of 
production from your first film to The Last 
Emperor. Not surprisingly, premiums and 
types of coverage vary accordingly. The 
most important first step is to work with a 
broker experienced in film/video production 
to fulfill your specific needs. These are very 
few — especially outside New York and Cali- 
fornia — so you may have to look for some- 
one outside your area. Professional film and television reference books, 
such as The Producer's Masterguide. published by Shmuel Bension. 
provide names and contact information for brokers across the country. The 
broker is your connection to the carriers that underwrite motion picture 
insurance policies. In order to negotiate coverage and premiums, your 
broker will want a copy of a synopsis or script and will need details on the 



A Guide to 




Motion 
Picture 



Insurance 



budget, payroll, locations, and cast. She or he will also require information 
on any unusual circumstances, hazards, or risks involved that would effect 
the premium, just as the Chicago Bears' insurer would take into account Jim 
McMahon's propensity for game injuries. In particular, my broker, Andrea 
Hess at Dewitt, Stem, and Guttman, cites "planes, trains, and boats" as red 
flags for carriers, and productions involving any of those tend to require 
higher insurance payments. 

Most insurance companies will provide a customized production pack- 
age that varies by your needs. The package policy eliminates protection 
"gaps" and duplication that may occur with different kinds of coverage, 
which, therefore, keeps costs down. The general categories of coverage are: 

Basic to all types of productions (documentaries, dramatic, etc.), the 

following is generally purchased together as 
a production package policy — for example, 
there is only one carrier that will insure the 
negative alone: 

• equipment insurance 

• negative film and videotape insurance 

• faulty stock, camera, and processing 
insurance 

• property damage liability insurance 



Also applicable to all types of productions 
are: 

• worker's compensation 

• comprehensive general liabilty and auto 
liability 

For dramatic productions: 

• cast insurance 

• props, sets, and wardrobe 

• extra expense 

Productions distributed through television 
and theatrical release: 

• errors and omissions 



In addition, there is a whole array of additional coverage, particularly for 
larger dramatic productions, including animal mortality, bad weather, non- 
owned aircraft liability, watercraft liability, and unions and guilds flight 
accident insurance. 



CONTINUED ON PAGE 18 



16 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY1989 



— , , , ; , 



INSURANCE 



Equipment Insurance Covers loss and damage to your own or leased 
equipment, including cameras, lenses, sound recorders, mics, lighting, 
editing equipment, grip equipment, and projectors. 

Negative Film and Videotape Insurance Covers loss or damage to 
your film negative or videotape stock, exposed film, recorded 
videotape, soundtracks, and master tapes, up to the amount of the 
insured production cost. 

Faulty Stock, Camera, and Processing Covers losses caused by 
fogging, light exposure, faulty camera or sound equipment, faulty raw 
stock, faulty developing, editing, and processing, or accidental erasure 
of videotape recordings. It does not, however, protect you against 
human error or inexperience on the part of you or your crew — for 
example, if your assistant camera exposes a roll of film through 
negligence. 

Property Damage Liability Covers damages to property belonging to 
others that occur while you are using the property for your production. 
It also covers your loss of the use of the property. The owners of a 
location, prop or wardrobe companies, and the like will probably want 
to see your insurance certificate as a part of the rental agreement. In the 
case of a location, make sure you're contracting with the owner — or 
someone empowered to grant you use of the space. 

Worker's Compensation Coverage for employees is mandatory in 
every state and applies to all employees, whether temporary or 
permanent. It provides medical, disability, or death benefits to cast or 
production crew members who becomes injured while employed by 
you. Employees are also covered on a 24-hour basis whenever on 
location away from home. Should such an injury or death occur and you 
do not carry this insurnace, you many have to pay penalties in addition 
to benefits required by law. Even if the cast or crew member is employed 
as a freelance, independent contractor or is a voluntary intern, he or she 
will probably be considered an employee by an administrative claims 
court. According to Bud Krause, how you pay that person, whether it's 
by check or simply lunch, does not have a bearing in worker's 
compensation claims. The state will consider them an employee if you 
"control, supervise, and direct their work; furnish the tools of the trade; 
and furnish or are responsible for the job location." A worker's 
compensation will cover your employees in every state regardless of 
where you hire them, with the exception of the six monopolistic states 
of Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, West Virginia, Wyoming, and Puerto 
Rico, which require that you purchase worker's compensation from 
their state governments if you hire local people. 

Comprehensive General Liability, and Auto Liability Covers you 
against claims for bodily injury or property damage that happen during 
filming. Coverage may include the use of vehicles, both production and 



prop vehicles, including physical damage to them. This coverage is 
usually required before you are allowed to film on municipal and state 
roads or at any location that requires filming permits. The use of 
watercrafts or aircrafts — boats and planes — is not covered by this policy 
and must be insured separately. Also excluded here is errors and 
omissions coverage. General liability insurance should provide 
protection for "hold harmless" agreements you've made with other 
parties. For example, if you have agreed to protect the owner of a 
location against any claims by a third party from injury that occurs at the 
location while you are shooting, the policy will cover that agreement. 

Cast Insurance Covers you for any extra cost necessary to complete 
principal photography if death, injury, or sickness befalls a performer or 
director. Anyone covered is required to take a physical examination 
before coverage is initiated, and you are responsible for the cost of these 
exams. Coverage usually begins two to four weeks before the beginning 
of principal photography. 

Props, Sets, and Wardrobe Covers loss or damage during production 
on props, sets, scenery, costumes and wardrobe, and similar theatrical 
property. This may also include coverage for rental charges for 
replacement. 

Extra Expense Reimburses you for any additional costs necessary to 
complete principal photography that occurs as a result of damage or de- 
struction of property or facilities, such as props, sets, or the equipment 
used in your production. It may also cover losses due to generator 
breakdown. 

Errors and Omissions Covers legal liability and your defense as well 
as indemnity for you against lawsuits over copyrights infringement, un- 
authorized use of titles, formats, ideas, characters, talent performances, 
plots, plagiarism, piracy, and unfair competition. The policy also 
protects against alleged libel, slander, defamation of character, or 
invasion of privacy. This coverage is usually required by a distributor 
before television or theatrical release. Errors and Omissions is an 
extremely expensive per project policy that may have to be renewed 
periodically — usually every three to five years — if your film or tape has 
a long life. In your application, you will have to warrant that all rights are 
cleared, including music, title, script, etc., and that all releases have 
clearances. An increasingly rare E&O policy is the Occurrence form, in 
which the carrier will provide coverage for claims made even after the 
policy expires, as long as the alleged damage occurred during your 
coverage. The more common type of policy is the Claims Made form, in 
which the carrier provides no coverage unless the claim is made during 
the policy period. E&O insurance is particularly onerous for indepen- 
dent producers distributing to public television, which requires E&O 
insurance but pays low or no broadcast fees that might help defray the 
cost of this insurance. 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 17 



EkEMIUMSV \ki hi BUDGE1 si/i . deductible amounts, length ot the 
production period, locations, the degree of danger, or the volume of 
rdous activity involved. There in one thing \ou icin depend upon: 
premiums are high. The insurance industry is a cyclical one. with purchase 
costs rising and tailing o\er time. We are at the peak of one of the upswings, 
w uh premiums so high that it's setting off consumer revolts like the recent 
ballot proposition to lower auto insurance premiums in California. While 
working out a documentary budget of $350-450,000 this summer. Andrea 
Hess told me to estimate tvi o to tw o and a half percent of the total budget for 
insurance I've heard quotes of everywhere from two. to six percent, de- 
pending on the scale of the production budget. 

Minimum premiums make it necessary to take a bigger proportional slice 
out of low er budgets. For example, the minimum cost of S 1 -million in com- 
prehensive general liabilit\ insurance is now around S2.500 — an amount 
you might be required to pas for a S50.000 production or a $500,000 
production. Hess has been able to get slightly lower premiums for short- 
term, extremely low -budget productions through carriers that don't nor- 
mally handle filmA ideo insurance under special projects coverage, but they 
still range around $21)00. 

In some cases, it would be cheaper to buy blanket insurance that covers 
all vour productions on an annual basis, rather than buying coverage per 
project and pa> ing a separate minimum premium for each of those projects. 
For example, during the calendar year 1 986. my partner Christine Choy and 
I w ere involved in three productions: we shot a short dramatic film, w orked 
on editing and short pick-ups for a long-term documentary, and started 
production on a feature for foreign television. The budgets for the three 
productions ranged from S20.000 to S200.000. In January of that year, we 
ga\ e our broker an estimate of w hat w e thought our total outlays w ould be 
for the rest of 1986. Based on that estimate, we paid a premium deposit. In 
January 1987. the end of the premium period, the broker audited our ac- 
counts to determine if we actually spent more — meaning we'd owe an addi- 
tional premium — or spent less, entitling us to a refund on the deposit. Keep 
in mind, refunds sound great but. because there is a minimum premium for 
am policy . it is not guaranteed that you w ill ever see one. 

An independent production may take several years to complete, but 
you'll still want your negative or master insured during the entire period. In 
this case, although you aren't spending the entire budget in any single y ear. 
you'll probably end up paying the minumum premium on an annual basis 
anyway. (Keep in mind that negative insurance is almost always sold as a 
pan of the whole production package policy and can't be bought sepa- 
rately.) 

Even with blanket policies, your premium deposit can be raised during 
the year under special circumstances. In one year, we had a blanket policy 
covering $75,000 in estimated production costs, but a larger project came 
in at $200,000 so we had to buy additional coverage. Exclusions on your 
policy may also require additional premiums. Insurance coverage is gener- 
ally w orldw ide. except for the common exclusion of war zones — and each 
carrier's interpretation of what is a war zone. Nicaragua or Lebanon, for 
example, may vary. Finding coverage for what is considered a dangerous 
location could mean big trouble and big expense. According to Hess, a last 
resort is Lloyd's of London (the people who insured Betty Grable's legs), 
but the premium might be prohibitively expensive. 

Deductibles are applied on a "per occurrence" basis, meaning you can't 
group all your losses together but can only claim a loss for a single instance. 
When I was shooting a low -budget feature in Manhattan, our production 
van w as broken into tw ice. The fact that the tw o losses combined — verified 
for the carrier by the police report — totalled about $200 more than the 
SI. 000 deductible meant nothing. In order to receive a claim, one single 
robbery w ould have to produce over SI .000 in losses. We w ere "luckier" in 
Detroit, when robbed of over SI 0.000 in equipment and supplies in the 
parking lot of a hotel we were able to make a successful claim. 

The deductible is an important factor in determining what kind of cover- 
age you can afford to buy. especially for low -budget productions. Hypo- 
thetically. it would be wonderful to claim the S2.000 you lost paying 
salaries on your crew and actors w hen a snow storm postpones production 



for a few days. But. if the deductible is $10,000 and the carrier will only pay 
the portion of the claim over that amount, the cost of bad weather insurance 
might not be worth the expense. Of course, some types of coverage such as 
negative insurance is basic. Yourequipment will probably be worth the cost 
of protection, and rental houses will either require that you insure their 
equipment or pay a fee to be covered by their own policy. Most municipali- 
ties require comprensive general liability insurance to shoot in public places 
(you can try stealing the shot, but insurance makes life easier with the local 
police and may get you generous parking privileges as well as insuring you 
against a law suit). New York City, for example, requires that you buy Sl- 
million in comprehensive general liability and name the city as an addi- 
tional insured on the policy. If you want to shoot in the subway system, the 
Metropolitan Transit Authority may also want to be named as an additional 
insured, thus raising the premium even higher. 

Claims can involve an enormous amount of paperwork and patience. I 
know a lawyer who once told me a contract is only viable as long as it's too 
expensive to break. A cynical view of insurance companies is that they'll 
settle your claim only if you make it worth their while to do so. My own 
experience has ranged from satisfying to frustrating, depending on the 
carrier. Ironically, my worst experience was with the smallest claim: $133 
for worker's compensation for a soundman, who accidentally cut his hand 
on a production binder. A year after I filed the claim, the insurer still hadn't 
honored it. and the soundman was getting chased by the hospital's collec- 
tion agency. It took countless letters and calls to my broker's claim's depart- 
ment to finally settle the matter. 

Because of the hassle inherent to making a claim, it's advantageous to 
have a broker and carrier who understands motion picture production and 
has a good reputation in the field. In some instances, the insurer is your ally 
against a third party. For example, if a passer-by is hit by a falling grip stand 
in the building hallway where you are shooting, the insurance carrier will 
not only pay damages but may pay your defense costs as well. 

As the producer, it pays to be prepared. Carry copies of your policy and 
relevant forms, especially on location, and make sure your production 
manager or other appropriate staff does the same. Third parties such as 
locations, municipal authorities, and rental houses will want to see copies 
of the certificate. In the case of a robbery or accident, you'll want to refer 
to the policy and have the claim forms handy. When we were robbed in 
Detroit. I had detailed lists of all equipment and property we were traveling 
w ith. and bills of sale were handy in my office. Being a compulsive pack rat, 
I had kept all my receipts for personal items like clothing and was reim- 
bursed for those losses through a combination of homeowner's insurance, 
auto insurance, and a lawsuit against the hotel where we were robbed. 

Since independents often work on a small scale with tight budgets, it's 
helpful to be resourceful in piecing together coverage. For instance, it's 
likely that you and your crew will contribute your personal equipment, 
w ardrobe. or props to the production and that you'll carry personal items on 
travel. High premiums and deductibles may make it prohibitive to buy 
coverage for this type of property, which would be considered minor to the 
insurer, although certainly valuable to you. As the result of my experience 
in Detroit. I realized that personal consumer coverage is often cheaper than 
professional insurance for filling these gaps. I pay a slightly higher fee for 
an American Express gold card and automatically receive collision damage 
coverage on rental cars — saving me the cost of the collision damage waiver 
offered by rental companies, which can run as high as S12 a day. The 
American Express coverage is for collision, fire, theft, and vandalism to the 
car. When using a credit card to buy airline tickets. I also receive additional 
insurance on luggage. Some car rental companies also offer coverage for 
theft to personal items for an extra fee. 

With the complexity of insurance terms and the expense of coverage, it 
may be tempting for struggling independent film- and videomakers to avoid 
the issue altogether. But independent production is no less a business than 
widget manufacturing, and it's worth your while — and in some cases it's 
legally incumbent, for you — to purchase adequate coverage for your film 
and video projects. 

? !989ReneeTajima 



18 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY1989 



Recoding Narratives of 
Race and Nation 




Slide from 

Expeditions: Signs of 
Empire/Images of 
Nationality (1983), a 
slide/tape work by 
the Black Audio Film 
Collective 

Courtesy filmmakers 



Kobena Mercer 



This article originates from my introduction to Black Film/British Cinema, 
a document in the Institute of Contemporary Art's series co-published by 
the British Film Institute in November 1988. The publication stems from a 
conference on the development of black independent filmmaking, 1 and, in 
addition to contributions from Stuart Hall, Colin McCabe, Judith Williamson, 
and others, the text includes a dossier of articles and statements from critics 
and filmmakers which unravel the controversial reception of recent films 
1 ike My Beautiful Laundrette, The Passion of Remembrance, and Handsworth 
Songs. 

Although black British filmmaking constitutes a small body of work, the 
prolific new wave of black independent film has raised crucial issues around 
the cultural politics of race and nation, identity and representation. Speaking 
from the "margins," this articulates fresh perspectives on questions that 
become central motifs in our so-called postmodern concerns. This article 
offers a description of the context of oppositional production in which black 
filmmaking has developed since the 1960s and seventies. Focussing on the 
politics of race and representation involved in the displacement of dominant 
codes and narratives, it discusses how black film-texts have actively con- 
tributed to (rather than merely "reflected") the public dissensus and debate 
on the meaning of Britishness as a contested identity and as a site of contes- 
tation. 

The sheer range of conflicting views and opinions surely indicate that 
something important is going on. Take the case of Handsworth Songs (dir. 



John Akomfrah, 1987), Black Audio Film Collective's documentary-essay 
on the civil disobedience that erupted in reaction to the repressive policing 
of black communities in London and Birmingham in 1 985. On one hand, the 
film received critical acclaim and won many prizes, including the prestig- 
ious Grierson Award from the British Film Institute. On the other, one 
reviewer in a black community newspaper. The Voice, received the film 
with the dismissive remark, "Oh no, not another riot documentary," and in 
The Guardian the film was subject to a serious and fierce intellectual 
polemic from novelist Salman Rushdie. Whereas the filmmakers conceived 
their experimental approach to the documentary genre as a strategy "to find 
a structure and a form which would allow us the space to deconstruct the 
hegemonic voices of British television ne wsreels," 2 Rushdie argued that, on 
the contrary, "the trouble is, we aren't told the other stories. What we get is 
what we know from TV. Blacks as trouble; blacks as victims." 

What is at issue goes beyond a dispute over the merits of one particular 
film. The contradictory reception of Handsworth Songs is but one aspect of 
the growing debates that have focussed attention on issues of race and 
ethnicity in film and television during the eighties. Other filmmaking 
groups such as Ceddo, Sankofa, and Retake have also been at the center of 
recent controversies arising out of the cultural politics of black representa- 
tion. Sankofa's innovative dramatic feature The Passion of Remembrance 
(dir. Maureen Blackwood and Isaac Julien, 1986) interlaces a rendition of 
black family life around its central character. Maggie Baptiste, with a series 
of fragmented reflections on race, class, gender, and sexuality as issues 
demanding new forms of representation. Yet in pursuit of such forms, the 
mixture of conventional and avant-garde styles in the film has bewildered 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1 989 



THE INDEPENDENT 19 



HARRC 
ROAD •/ 



Pressure (1974), Horace Ove 

Courtesy National Film Archive London 




audiences and critics, black and white alike. Retake's first feature, Majdhar 
(dir. Ahmed Jamal. 1984), revolves around a young Asian woman whose 
"independence" brings conflicting choices and options, and for this reason 
the film provoked intense criticism not only within Asian communities here 
in Britain, but across the front pages of the national press in Pakistan. Ceddo, 
an Afro-Caribbean workshop based in London, has produced a documen- 
tary on the 1985 "riots" — The People' s Account (dir. Milton Bryan, 1986) — 
yet although the film was financed by Channel Four and scheduled for a slot 
in the People to People series, it has still not been screened on television, as 
the Independent Broadcasting Authority has demanded editorial changes 
which the filmmakers regard as tantamount to state censorship — a demand 
which they have resisted. 

These developments have taken place in the independent sector, on the 
fringes of mainstream film culture, but the controversies are of a piece with 
the contradictory reception of My Beautiful Laundrette (dir. Stephen Frears, 
written by Hanif Kureishi, 1985). As a relatively low-budget independent 
production, partly funded by Channel Four, this film took many by surprise 
with the unexpected scale of its popularity. Few would have anticipated that 
a gay romance between a British-born Asian and an ex-National Front 
supporter, set against the backdrop of Thatcherite enterprise culture, would 
be the stuff of which box office successes are made! Yet it is precisely this 
"crossover" phenomenon — whereby material with apparently marginal 
subject matter becomes a commercial success in the marketplace — that 
pinpoints shifts on the part of contemporary audiences. 

In the case of My Beautiful Laundrette one would also need to account 
for the fact that, despite its success, different audiences actively disliked the 
film — and did so for very different reasons. Among the Asian communities, 
angry reactions focussed on the less than favorable depiction of some of the 
Asian characters which, when read as emblematic of the community, were 
seen as reinforcing certain ethnic stereotypes. Writing in the January 10, 
1 988, issue of the Sunday Times, Oxford history professor Norman Stone, 
on the other hand, singled out Laundrette and Sammie and Rosie Get Laid 
in his appraisal of British cinema for portraying a "negative image" of con- 
temporary England. Stone regarded the films as inherently "disgusting" and 
symptomatic of the artistic and economic "sickness" of the British film in- 
dustry, which he traced to the malignant influence of "left" intellectuals 
from the 1930s and sixties. In counterpoint, one example of "good" British 
filmmaking that Stone selected for praise was A Passage to India (dir. David 
Lean, 1987), an epic adaptation of the literary classic reframed for cinema 
in what has become known, after the success of television dramas such as 
Jewel in the Crown (Granada TV, 1983), as the "Raj nostalgia mode."' 

What is at issue here is not simply that different readers produce contra- 
dictory readings of the same cultural texts or that an ethnically diverse 
society throws up conflicting ideological viewpoints. More fundamentally, 
this critical exchange highlights the way image-making has become an 



important arena of cultural contestation — contestation over what it means 
to be British today, contestation over what Britishness itself means as a 
national or cultural identity, and contestation over the values that underpin 
the Britishness of British cinema as a national film culture. 



HISTORICAL FORMATION 

The public profile of black independent filmmaking today might give the 
impression that this is a "new" area of activity which only began in the 
eighties. But it did not. Filmmakers of Asian, African, and Caribbean 
descent, living or born in Britain, have been a part of the black arts move- 
ment since the 1960s. The previous "invisibility" of black filmmaking 
reflects instead the structural conditions of marginality which have shaped 
its development. An indication of just how recently conditions have 
changed can be gleaned from the fact that The Passion of Remembrance and 
Handsworth Songs were the first black-directed feature films to begin 
theatrical exhibition at a West End London venue, a standard rite-de-pas- 
sage in film culture. This shows how far things have come since the mid- 
seventies when Horace Ove's Pressure was the first black feature film to be 
made in Britain or the early sixties when the very first films by black 
directors were made by Lionel Ngakane and Lloyd Reckord. But, it also 
indicates how far conditions have yet to change before black film is regarded 
as an integral aspect of British cinema. The story of its development so far 
must be told, as Jim Pines has argued, as a struggle against conditions of 
"recurrent institutional and cultural marginalization." 4 

As an industrialized art form, filmmaking involves a complex division of 
labor and intensive capital investment and funding: therefore, the crucial 
issue for black filmmakers has been access to resources for production. 
"Independent" filmmaking is usually taken to refer to production outside 
the commercial mainstream, which is dominated by multinational capital 
and the profit motive. Although the term is something of a misnomer, for as 
James Snead remarks, "independent" film is often highly dependent on 
funding from public institutions, it could be said that black filmmaking has 
been "independent" by default as the struggle for access has been engaged 
on both fronts. The commercial marketplace has provided employment for 
a few individual filmmakers but not a secure environment for black 
filmmaking as a cultural movement. Rather, the grant-supported or subsi- 
dized sector has provided the context in which black filmmaking has grown. 
Yet even here black filmmakers have had to struggle to secure their rights 
to public funding. As a result of this, alongside the general struggle to 
establish and secure black rights, what has changed in the past decade is the 
institutional recognition of black people's rights to representation within 
film culture. 

The eighties have inaugurated shifts in the policy and priorities of 
cultural institutions in the public sphere, and this has helped to widen 
opportunities for access to production. These changes in the institutional 
framework of funding have expanded the parameters of the black indepen- 
dent sector and opened up a new phase which contrasts starkly with the 
conditions under which the pioneering generation of black filmmakers 
worked. The earliest films — Jemima and Johnny, by Lionel Ngakane, and 
Ten Boh in Winter, by Lloyd Reckord (both made in 1 963) — were produced 
without the support of public funds. Like Ove's first films. Baldwin's 
Nigger (1969) and Reggae (1970), they were largely financed by the 



20 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY1989 



Burning an Illusion (1981), Menelik Shabazz 

Courtesy Third World Newsreel 



filmmakers themselves, who often demonstrated entrepreneurial flair by 
raising money from unlikely sources. 

Ove's first feature-length film, Pressure, marked a turning point in 1 974, 
as it was the first film by a black director to be financed by the British Film 
Institute. The BFI's production of A Private Enterprise, a dramatic feature 
set in the Asian community co-written by DillipHiro in 1975, and Burning 
an Illusion, made by Menelik Shabazz in 1981, signalled growing institu- 
tional recognition of black filmmaking within the terms of "multicultural" 
funding policy. Yet although this recognition drew black filmmakers into 
the context of the subsidized independent sector, marking an advance from 
the previous period, the time interval between productions and the compara- 
tively modest budgets of the productions themselves suggest that, even 
within the terms of "official" multicultural policies, black filmmaking re- 
mained marginal in relation to the general growth of the independent sector 
during the 1970s. 

Various factors contributed to the shifts of the eighties which, if they can 
be traced to a single source, occurred outside the institutions of British 
society in the political events of 1 98 1 : "riots" or "uprisings," the term varies 
with your viewpoint. Over and above their immediate causes as a response 
to new, quasi-military forms of policing in the Thatcherite era, the events 
had the symbolic effect of marking a break with the consensus politics of 
multiculturalism and as such announced a new phase of "crisis-manage- 
ment" in British race relations. In the wake of The Scarman Report? 
political expediency — the need to be seen to be doing something — was a 
major aspect of the "benevolent" gestures of many public institutions, 
hurriedly redistributing funding to black projects. Politically, the eruption 
of civil disorder expressed protest at the structural marginalization of black 
voices and opinions within the polity and encoded militant demands for 
black representation within public institutions as a basic right. Culturally, 
this demand generated a veritable renaissance of black creativity — from 
literature, music, and theater to photography, film, and video. 6 In relation 
to audiovisual media in particular, this surge of activity coincided with the 
advent of Channel Four, which proved to be crucially important for black 
filmmakers and audiences alike. 

It has been said, apropos the economic decline of the British film industry 
in the post-war period, that "British cinema is alive and well and living on 
television," as TV has provided a unique point of entry into the profession 
for many writers and directors. With its official mandate to encourage 
innovative forms of program-making, Channel Four contributed signifi- 
cantly to the expansion of the independent film production sector. The 
Channel was also mandated to provide for the unmet needs of various "mi- 
nority" audiences, and, as a new model of public service broadcasting which 
explicitly recognized the diversity of audiences in a plural society, its 
responsibility for "multicultural" programming aroused high expectations 
about black representation. Early programs like Eastern Eye and Black on 
Black received enthusiastic welcome from Asian and Caribbean audiences, 
primarily because they filled some of the gaps — the absence of black im- 
ages — in the more entrenched tradition of public service which assumed a 
single, mono-cultural "national" audience. 

However, while Channel Four brought TV into line with the ethos of 
multiculturalism, the multicultural consensus was itself being thrown into 
question by more radical aspects of black politics and its cultural expression 
in the arts. Criticisms were made of the "ghettoization" that circumscribed 
such "ethnic minority" slots on Channel Four. Indirectly, this led to the 




formation of numerous black independent production companies with the 
aim of delivering alternative films and programs to television. 7 Similar 
critiques were voiced by the independent filmmakers' lobby and the 
women's lobby, and, alongside these, the Black Media Workers Associa- 
tion formed in 1982 to campaign for an equal distribution of employment 
and commissions. The BMWA's objectives shifted from the monitoring 
role of earlier initiatives such as the Campaign Against Racism in the 
Media 8 and were oriented towards pragmatic concerns such as ensuring 
access to independent production. 

At another level, these developments were inscribed as a political shift 
from multicultural to anti-racist policy. In relation to the local state this 
process was led by the radical Labour administration of the Greater London 
Council between 1982 and its abolition, as a result of central government 
legislation, in 1986. Beyond mere expediency, the GLC took up demands 
for black representation in political decision-making and opened up a new 
phase of local democracy involving constituencies marginalized from 
parliamentary politics. At a cultural level, the GLC also inaugurated a new 
attitude to funding arts activities by regarding them as "cultural industries" 
in their own right. Both of these developments proved important for the 
burgeoning black independent film sector, particularly for the younger 
generation of filmmakers who formed workshops. 

By prioritizing black cultural initiatives either by direct subsidy or 
through training and development policies (as well as numerous public 
festivals and events), the GLC marked a break with the piecemeal and often 
patronizing funding of so-called "ethnic arts."" Emphasizing broadly edu- 
cational objectives, the GLC's extensive black and Third World film exhib- 
ition programs, such as Third Eye in 1983, were also important as they 
brought a range of new or rarely seen films into public circulation. The Third 
Eye symposia in 1985 gathered together filmmakers from Britain, the U.S., 
Africa, and the Indian subcontinent to map out an agenda for alternative 
interventions in production and distribution and highlighted, on one hand, 
common experiences of marginalization and, on the other, the impact of 
black and Third World feminism on issues of representation.'" Like the 
conference on Third Cinema: Theories and Practices, held at the Edinburgh 
Film Festival in 1986, such events have placed black British filmmaking 
within an international context and helped to clarify the innovative qualities 
that differentiate black independent film from the "first cinema" of the 
commercial mainstream and the "second cinema" of individual auteur- 
ism." 

At the same time, however, such events have also brought to light 
important differences within the black British filmmaking community. In 
one sense, these differences concern the diverse ideological emphases and 
aesthetic strategies pursued by black filmmakers in the eighties, but they are 
also structural in nature and stem from the different modes of production of 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 21 




Territories (1985), directed by Isaac Julien, a 
member of the Sankofa film and video collective 

Courtesy Third World Newsreel 



workshops and production companies. Independent production companies 
— which include Anancy Films, Azad Productions. Kuumba Productions. 
Penumbra Productions, and Social Film and Video, for example — operate 
within the orbit of the television industry and as such compete in the 
marketplace for commissions and finance for individual productions. 
Workshops on the other hand — such as Black Audio. Cardiff Film and 
Video Workshop. Ceddo. Macro. Retake. Star, and Sankofa — are grant- 
supported and operate in the public sector context of subsidized indepen- 
dence. Whereas the former tend to adhere to the professionalized codes of 
mainstream working practices, often revolving around the individual direc- 
tor or producer, the workshops are committed to "integrated practice," 
which entails activity around areas of training, education, developing audi- 
ence outreach, and networks of alternative distribution and exhibition as 
much as producing Films themselves, often through collectivist working 
methods. In this respect, the workshops have been enabled by a unique trade 
agreement between the Association of Cinematograph. Television and 
Allied Technicians (the filmmakers" union) and a range of public institu- 
tions including Channel Four (the Workshop Declaration, established in 
1982). whereby groups involved in such cultural activities and with a 
minimum staff of four can be accredited or franchised and thus receive 
financial support. 

Arguments have raged over w hich mode of production offers a greater 
degree of autonomy and independent decision-making. Production compa- 
nies may claim that by working w ithin conventional patterns, black film- 
makers can negotiate a w ider potential audience and thus overcome the risk 
of "ghettoization." Workshops, on the other hand, have argued that "inte- 
grated practice" makes the development of a distinct black film culture 
possible and thus allows black filmmakers the space in which to address 
issues of concern to black audiences as a specific "community of interest" 
and the space in w hich to explore black aesthetics. The debate is by no means 
resolved. In any case, it should be noted that the arguments are of a piece 
w ith the different tendencies w ithin the independent sector generally: the 
work of an independent director such as Ken Loach contrasts with the more 
"oppositional" orientation of the workshop movement w hich began with 
groups such as the London Film-Maker's Co-op set up by Malcolm LeGrice 
and others in the mid-1960s. With regard to the specificity of black film- 
making, however, it is important to recognize that the emergence of 
workshops has widened the range of issues that black practitioners have 
been able to take on. bringing questions of audience and distribution into the 
arena of funding and development. In contrast to previous periods, the 
structural shifts of the eighties' have diversified the range of ideological and 
aesthetic options for black independent film practices. It is this qualitative 
expansion of approaches to representation that informs the intensity of the 
debates on aesthetics in the contemporary situation. 



22 THE INDEPENDENT 



DISPLACING THE BURDEN OF 
REPRESENTATION 



Culturally, definitions of "independent cinema" embrace such a variety of 
specific traditions — from combative documentary in the Third World or 
counter-informational video new sreels addressing local/regional community 
audiences to Euro- American "art" cinema or formalist experimentation, ac- 
commodated in rarefied art galleries and museums — that its coherence as a 
classificatory term seems questionable. This is especially so when it comes 
to black independent film in Britain, as each of these traditions are relevant 
to the "hybridized" cultural terrain in w hich it has evolved. In addition there 
is another problematic area of definition concerning the use of the term 
"black" as a political, rather than racial category. Throughout the seventies 
and eighties, the rearticulation of this term as an inclusive political identity 
based on alliances between Asian, African, and Caribbean peoples in a 
shared struggle against racism has helped to challenge and displace 
commonsense assumptions about "blackness" as a fixed or essential identity. 

A grasp of both these areas of contested definition is necessary for an 
understanding of the cultural struggle around the social production of 
imagery that black filmmaking has engaged. In this sense it would be more 
helpful to emphasize the "oppositional" aspects of both terms so that rigidly 
essentialist or normative definitions may be avoided in favor of a relational 
and contextual conception of black independent film as a kind of counter- 
practice that contests and critiques the predominant forms in which black 
subjects become socially visible in different cultural forms of representa- 
tion. A consistent motivation for black filmmakers has been to challenge the 
predominantly stereotypical forms in which blacks become visible either as 
"problems" or "victims." always as some intractable and unassimilable 
Other on the margins of British society and its collective consciousness. It 
is in relation to such dominant imagery that black filmmaking has brought 
a political dimension to this arena of cultural practice. And it's from this 
position that adequate consideration can be given to questions such as 
whether a distinctly black visual aesthetic exists or not, whether realism or 
modernism offers the more appropriate aesthetic strategy, or w nether black 
film can be exhaustively defined as that produced "by. for. and about" black 
people. To begin to clarify what is at stake, it would be relevant to start w ith 
the question of stereotyping as this has formed the background against 
u. hich recent debates have highlighted the complexity of race and ethnicity 
vis-a-vis the politics of representation. 

Through a variety of genres, from dramatic fiction to reportage and 
documentary, black filmmakers have had to contend w ith the ideological 
and cultural power of the codes w hich have determined dominant represen- 
tations of race. Stereotypes are one product of such audiovisual codes, 
which shape agreed interpretations of reality in a logic that reproduces and 
legitimates commonsense assumptions about "race." More broadly, in the 
struggle against the hegemonic forms of racial discourse supported by racial 
and ethnic stereotypes, black film practices come up against the master 
codes of what Jim Pines describes as the "official" race relations narrative. 
Within the logic of its narrative patterns, blacks tend to be depicted either 
as the source and cause of social problems — threatening to disrupt moral 
equilibrium — or as the passive bearers of social problems — victimized into 
angst-ridden submission or dependency. In either case, such stories encode 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY1989 



Handsworfh Songs (1986), directed by John Akomfrah, 
a member of the Black Audio Film Collective 

Courtesy Third World Newsreel 



versions of reality that confirm the ideological precept that "race" consti- 
tutes a "problem" per se. 

From films of the colonial period, such as Sanders of the River with its 
dichotomy of "good native"/"bad native," to films of the post-war period of 
mass immigration and settlement, such as Sapphire or Flame in the Streets 
which narrate racial antagonism in a social realist style, the predominant 
forms of racial representation in British cinema and television have pro- 
duced a "problem-oriented" discourse. 12 In seeking to find a voice and a 
means of cinematic expression able to challenge and displace the authority 
of this dominant discourse, black filmmaking has negotiated a specific, if 
not unique, set of representational problems that constitute a particularly 
difficult "burden of representation." To evaluate how different filmic 
strategies have sought to unpack this burden we need to examine the 
contradictory effects of realism and how this impinges on the cinematic in- 
vestigation of the contradictory experiences of black British identity. 

A cursory overview of black films made in Britain would show the pre- 
ponderance of a "documentary realist" aesthetic in both dramatic fiction and 
documentary films. This emphatic insistence on the "real" — often express- 
ed as a desire to "correct" media distortions and "tell it like it is" — should 
be understood as the prevailing mode in which a counter-discourse has been 
constructed against the dominant versions of reality produced by the race 
relations master narrative. From a context oriented point of view, the 
"reality effect" so powerfully conveyed by documentaries such as Step 
Forward Youth (dir. Menelik Shabazz, 1977) and The People's Account 
(Ceddo, 1986) is an important rhetorical element by which the "authority" 
of dominant media discourses is disrupted by black counter-discourse. 
Furthermore, within campaigning or counter-informational documentary, 
such as Blood Ah Go Run (Kuumba Productions, 1982), issues of form are 
necessarily and justifiably subordinate to the conjunctural imperative to 
interrupt the dominant racial discourse. Thus it could be argued that the 
operation of four filmic values within this mode of practice — transparency, 
immediacy, authority, and authenticity (which are aesthetic principles 
central to the realist paradigm) — constitute the means of encoding alterna- 
tive forms of knowledge to "make sense" of processes and events from a 
black perspective. In this sense the focal concern with the politicizing 
experiences of black youth in films from the seventies demonstrates a 
counter-reply to the criminalizing stereotypes of dominant media dis- 
courses which amplified "moral panics" around race and crime. 

Similarly, a film such as Blacks Britannica (made in 1979 by David Koff 
for an American TV company, WGBH-Boston, but cited here as it is widely 
read and circulated as a film encoding a black British perspective) interrupts 
commonsense understandings of race by "giving voice" to those silenced 
and marginalized by dominant versions of reality. Like Riots and Rumours 
of Riots (dir. Imruh Bakari Caesar, 1981), the combination of oral testi- 
mony, didactic voiceover, and political analysis advanced in the films by 
black activists and intellectuals presents an "alternative definition of the 
situation" and one that emphasizes the historical legacy of imperialism and 
colonialism as a factor in Britain's recurrent crises of race relations. The oral 
histories of black community life in four British cities offered by Struggles 
for the Black Community (dir. Colin Prescod, 1983 and produced by the 
Institute of Race Relations) cut across the dehistoricizing logic of the race 
relations narrative which seems to be premised on a "profound historical 
forgetfulness...a kind of historical amnesia... which has overtaken the 




British people about race and Empire since the 1950s." 13 

In such instances, then, documentary realism has had an overdetermined 
presence in framing black versions of reality: the "window on the world" 
aesthetic does not perform the naturalizing function which it does in 
broadcast news. Rather, by encoding versions of reality from black view- 
points, it renders present that which is made absent in the dominant dis- 
courses. As a conjunctural intervention, the use of documentary realist 
conventions empowers the articulation of counter-discourse. Yet, as Pines 
notes, although perspectives coded as "black" at the level of reference and 
theme differentiate such work from dominant discourse, at the level of film- 
form and cinematic expression these films often adhere to the same aesthetic 
principles as the media discourses whose power and ideological effects they 
seek to resist. Pointing to the relational nature of this constitutive paradox. 
Pines argues that 

This is also one of the ways in which black films are marked off from other kinds of 
independent work, because institutionalized "'race relations" has a marginalising 
effect structurally and tends to reinforce rather than ameliorate the "otherness" of the 
subject — which documentary realism historically and representationally embodies. 
Within this set of relations, therefore, it has been difficult for black practitioners to 
evolve a cinematic approach which is unaffected by the determinants of "race 
relations" discourse or which works outside documentary realism. 14 

The contradictory effects this gives rise to can be appreciated mostly in 
relation to narrative fiction as the aspiration to authenticity or "objectivity" 
entailed by realism becomes more problematic when brought to bear on the 
contradictory subjective experiences of black British identity. Narrative 
closure, the tying up of the threads that make up a fictional text, is regarded 
as characteristic of cinematic realism, but the symptomatic irresolution of 
the story told in Pressure suggests some of the limitations of documentary 
realism in the attempt to recode the race relations narrative. 

The film's central protagonist, a British-born black teenager, becomes 
increasingly disillusioned as he realizes that racial discrimination prevents 
him from attaining conventional goals and expectations, such as a career. 
The youth becomes estranged from his parents, who believed that because 
he was born in Britain he would have the advantage of being able to "assim- 
ilate" into British society. He drifts into street comer society and after an 
encounter with the police he joins his Caribbean-bom brother in a separatist 
"Black Power" organization. The plot describes the politicization of his 
identity or, rather, a growing awareness of the contradictions inherent in the 
very idea of a black British identity where, ideologically, society regards the 
two terms as mutually exclusive. 

In presenting this dilemma in dramatic form Pressure constructs an im- 
portant statement, but in the telling, in its mode of enunciation through 
documentary realism, the linear development of the story recapitulates the 
themes of "inter-generational conflict" and "identity crisis" established by 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 23 



the epistemolog) of the classic race relations narrative. We are left w ith an 
angst-ridden black subject, pathologized into a determinate non-identity by 
his \er> marginalit) 

As Pines has argued, the narrative logic in Pressure remains within the 
problem-oriented discourse of both social realist drama and race relations 
sociology Consequent!) . the dream sequence at the end of the film, when 
the > OUth enters a country mansion and sadistically stabs the carcass of a pig, 
and the final scene of a protest march outside a courthouse in the rain evoke 
not onlv the impotence or hopelessness of a politicized black identity but a 
certain powerlessness on the part of the film itself, as if it cannot find a 
successful means of escaping from the master codes that circumscribe it. 
()\e's rendition of a hostage scenario that occurred in the mid-seventies, A 
Hole in Babylon (BBC. 1979). also conveys a pessimistic view of black 
protest politics. But the crisis of narrative resolution in Pressure should not 
be attributed to its author: on the contrary it must be read as symptomatic of 
a heroic, but compromised struggle with the master narrative of race 
relations discourse. 

In subsequent black narrative fiction films we see the development of 
different modes of storytelling within this problematic of "identity." Burn- 
ing an Illusion, by Menelik Shabazz, narrates a black woman's awakening 
sense of black consciousness as she discards the signs of her colonized self 
— "Mills and Boon" novels and a straightened hairstyle — to rediscover her 
"roots" and a politicized self-image. While the linear plot and mode of 
characterization are similar to Pressure (as the central protagonist is taken 
to embody a general or "typical" experience), the shift of emphasis from 
black/white confrontation to gender politics within a black community 
setting displaces the binary polarization in which black identity is reactively 
politicized by its "opposition" to white authority alone. By the same token, 
because the woman's transformation is narratively motivated by her boy- 
friend's encounter w ith police and then prison. Illusion has been criticized 
for presenting what is really a male-oriented idea of black women's exper- 
iences as the female protagonist is at all times dependent upon the "politi- 
cizing" role of the male character. I5 

The elision of specificity in the pursuit of "authenticity" within docu- 
mentary realism also affects Retake's first feature film, Majdhar ("mid- 
stream"). The story concerns a young woman brought to England from 
Pakistan by her husband, who then abandons her and thus throws her into 
a complex set of choices. The protagonists speak with neutral accents, an 
important aspect of the characterization and chosen by the filmmakers to 
preempt the "goodness, gracious me" Asian stereotype. Yet, paradoxically, 
this seems inadvertently to confirm the "torn between two cultures" thesis 
which implies that, for Asian women, independence is synonymous with 
Western, or in this case English middle-class, culture. What is at stake in 
each of these films is a struggle to retell stories of black British identity, 
whether set in Asian or Afro-Caribbean contexts, within a code or a lan- 
guage which positions that identity as a "problem." 

Sankofa's feature film The Passion of Remembrance marks a turning 
point, not because it transcends this problematic but because it self-con- 
sciously enunciates an explicit attempt to break out of the constraints of the 
master code. The "slice of life" drama that unfolds around the Baptiste 
family is coded in realist fashion, but, by foregrounding conflicts around 
gender and sexuality from black feminist and gay perspectives at the level 
of character, the story dismantles the myth of a homogeneous "black 
community" and emphasizes the plurality of identities within black society. 
The family drama is cut across by a dialogue between the emblematic black 
female and male figures which takes place in an abstract space: along with 
the "scratch video" footage that features in the realist sequences, the effect 
is to disrupt conventions such as narrative continuity. In the process, the 
layering of diverse rhetorical and textual strategies thematizes the question 
of memory in shaping political identities, calling up images of previous 
symbols in black politics to challenge the latent heterosexism of certain 
cultural nationalist discourses in the present. 

The plurality of filmic styles and ways of seeing not only deconstructs the 
aesthetic principles of documentary realism but reflexively demonstrates 
that the film, as much as its subject matter, is a product of complex cultural 



construction. The break with naturalistic conventions in Passion should not 
be read, within this synoptic and summary overview, as a sign of teleologi- 
cal "progress"; rather, its significance is that, along with documentary-texts 
such as Territories (dir. Isaac Julien, 1 985 ) and Handsworth Songs, its cine- 
matic self-consciousness demonstrates a conception of representation not 
as mimetic correspondence with the "real" but as a process of selection, 
combination, and articulation of signifying elements in sound and image. 
This is certainly informed by the aesthetic principles of modernism (and as 
such, inscribes the influences of an engagement in theories and methods 
available from an education and training in British art schools, polytechnics, 
and universities), but it would be reductive to compare the new film- 
language experiments to earlier black films in a rigid "realist/modernist" 
dichotomy. 

Rather, as the choral refrain in Territories implies — "We are struggling 
to tell a story"— what is at issue is a widening range of strategic interven- 
tions against the master codes of the race relations narrative. These are 
brought to bear on the same sets of problems, such as "identity," but 
articulated in such a way as to reveal the nature of the problems of repre- 
sentation created by the hegemony of documentary realism in racial 
discourse. Indicatively, collage and intertextual appropriation feature sig- 
nificantly in the more recent films whose formal strategy critiques rather 
than confirms the modernist tenet of pure formalism. Because the self- 
reflexive qualities of films like Passion or Territories are specifically 
oriented and directed to problems of racial representation, they implicitly 
critique the celebration of cinematic abstraction that characterizes aspects 
of the Euro-American avant-garde. In this sense, as critiques of modernism, 
the films are of a piece with the deconstructive impulse that figures in 
various aspects of postmodernism. As Dick Hebdige suggests, 

In films like Handsworth Songs and Territories the film-makers use everything at 
their disposal: the words of Fanon. Foucault, CLR James. TV news footage, didactic 
voiceover, interviews and found sound, the dislocated ghostly echoes of dub reggae, 
the scattergun of rap — in order to assert the fact of difference .... Deconstruction here 
takes a different turn as it moves outside the gallery, the academy, the library to 
mobilise the crucial forms of lived experience and resistance embedded in the 
streets, the shops and clubs of modem life. Deconstruction here is used publicly to 
cut across the categories of 'body' and 'critique,' the 'intellectual' and 'the masses,' 
"Them' and 'Us,' to bring into being a new eroticised body of critique, a sensuous 
and pointed logic — and to make it bear on the situation, to make the crisis speak. 16 

Thus Territories, for example, which begins as a documentary "about" 
Notting Hill Carnival as a phenomenon of diaspora culture, appropriates the 
subversive logic of Carnival itself to creolize and effectively "carnivalize" 
the filmic text. The fragmentary collage gives rise to a surplus of connota- 
tions not as textual "free play" but as a hybridized mode of enunciation that 
returns again to the topic of identity and self-image. In this way, the film 
foregrounds the complex intersections of "difference" — racial, sexual, 
gendered, class-based, ethnic — as the unstable terrain on which identity is 
constructed: the image of the two youths embracing while the Union Jack 
burns in the background replays the antimonies of black Britishness as 
merely one ambivalent identity amongst others. Similarly, the carnivalesque 
transcoding of found footage in Handsworth Songs subverts the linear logic 
of narrative closure by invoking multiple chains of semantic association in 
a dream-like manner that engages the spectator, affectively and cognitively, 
in a "critical reverie." 

The dialogic tendencies that inflect aspects of these films implies an 
awareness that the struggle to find a voice does not take place on a neutral 
or "innocent" cultural terrain but involves numerous modes of appropria- 
tion that dis-articulate and re-articulate the given signifying elements of 
hegemonic racial discourse. 17 In this sense, this kind of cultural practice 
celebrates the "in-between-ness" of the black British condition, not as 
pathology but as a position from which critical insight is made possible. 
Theoretically, this implies an epistemological break with sociological 
orthodoxies, a cut in the race relations master narrative, that reveals the 
productivity of the historical collision of cultures that Homi Bhabha 
describes as "hybridity" and which Paul Gilroy discusses in terms of 
syncretic forms of cultural production specific to diasporean conditions of 



24 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY1989 



Passion of Remembrance (1986), 

directed by Maureen Blackwood 

and Isaac Julien of Sankofa. 

Courtesy Third World Newsreel 



fragmentation and displacement. ' s And, without con- 
structing a monologic opposition between the old and 
the new in black filmmaking, it is precisely the variety 
of representational strategies in contemporary prac- 
tices that begins to dismantle the burden of represen- 
tation. As John Akomfrah of Black Audio Film Col- 
lective describes it: 

Almost everybody who works here has in many ways been 

influenced by or has engaged with or has been genuinely 

interpellated by a whole series of film-making discourses, 

some European, some Third World, others British. I think 

what one attempts to do is to reformulate the filmic agenda, in which the strategy 

simultaneously undermines and inaugurates a new black cinema; where it is 

apparent that questions of anger or of reflexivity are not enough; that the moral 

imperative which usually characterises black films, which empowers them to speak 

with a sense of urgency, that one needs a combination of all those things to speak of 

black filmmaking.' 1 ' 

The variety of filmmaking strategies today — made possible by shifts at 
the point of production and funding — is important because the rationing of 
resources plays a decisive role in determining the cinematic qualities of a 
film. The aesthetic traits that figure prominently in black filmmaking are not 
determined by the artistic consciousness of the author(s) alone, but by extra- 
textual factors such as budgets and funding. The contemporary diversifica- 
tion of aesthetic forms entails the awareness that the rationing of funds 
imposes a double bind on black creativity: because access and opportunities 
are regulated, such that films tend to get made only one at a time, there is an 
inordinate pressure on each individual film to be "representative" or to say 
as much as possible in one single filmic statement. This precisely is the 
"burden of representation" succinctly pinpointed by one of the characters in 
Passion who comments, "Every time a black face appears on the screen we 
think it has to represent the whole race," to which comes the reply, "But 
there is so little space — we have to get it right." Martina Attille explains the 
nature of this dilemma as it arose in the making of Passion: 

There was a sense of urgency to say it all, or at least to signal as much as we could 
in one film. Sometimes we can't afford to hold anything back for another time, 
another conversation or another film. That is the reality of our experience — 
sometimes we only get the one chance to make ourselves heard. 20 

What is at issue is a question of power, a question of who has power over the 
apparatus of image-making. 

As Judith Williamson noted in her review of Passion , "The more power 
any group has to create and wield representations, the less it is required to 
he representative." This concerns the politics of marginalization in the 
struggle for access to production, for, as Williamson adds, "the invisible 
demand to 'speak for the black community' is always there behind the 
multiculturalism of public funding." 2 ' There is, in effect, a subtle "numbers 
game" in play: if there is only one black voice in the public discourse, it is 
assumed that that voice "speaks for" and thereby "represents" the many 
voices and viewpoints of the group that is marginalized from the means of 
representation in society. Tokenism is one particular effect of this state of 
affairs: when films are funded with the expectation that they "speak for" a 
disenfranchised community, this legitimates institutional expediency (it 
"demonstrates" multiculturalism) and the rationing of meager resources (it 
polices a group's social rights to representation). The very notion that a 




single film or cultural artifact can "speak for" an entire socio-ethnic 
community reinforces the perceived marginality and "secondariness" of 
that community. 

What is at stake is the way in which the discursive parameters and 
enunciative modalities of black cinematic expression have been regulated 
and "policed" by hierarchic relations between "minority" and "majority" 
discourse. In legal terms, a "minor" is a subject whose speech is denied 
access to "truth" (children cannot "give evidence"); like an infant (literally, 
without speech), a social minor has not acquired the right-to-speak. The 
sometimes paternalistic attitudes which have underpinned that parsimony 
of multicultural funding police black filmmaking in much the same way: as 
"ethnic minority arts," black films have been funded and thus black 
filmmakers have been given the right-to-speak, with the implicit expecta- 
tion that they "speak for" the community from which they come. The critical 
difference in the contemporary situation thus turns on the decision to speak 
from the specificity of one's circumstances and experiences, rather than the 
attempt, impossible in any case, to speak for the entire social category in 
which one's experience is constituted. 

Certain dialogic tendencies which foreground the mode of filmic enun- 
ciation — specifying "where" the films are speaking from — threaten to 
overturn or at least destabilize the way in which black film discourses have 
been policed by the burden of representation. And, as Stuart Hall points out, 
this involves the reconsideration of "ethnicity" as the acknowledgement of 
the contextual and historically specific place from which one speaks. It 
undermines the transcendental and universalist claims of Western dis- 
courses which arrogate for themselves the right-to-speak on behalf of all of 
us, while marginalizing and repressing those voices that speak from its 
margins into ethnic particularism. Within the British context, the hybridized 
accents of black British voices begin to unravel the heteroglossia, the many- 
voicedness and variousness of British cultural identity as it is lived, against 
the centrifugal and centralizing monologism of traditional versions of 
national identity. 



"THINK GLOBAL, ACT LOCAL" 

This process of potential relativization is particularly important today 
precisely because traditionalism is being called upon in contradictory ways 
to stabilize the "imagined community" of the nation as it moves into a post- 
consensus, post-industrial era. In 1982, the popularity of Chariots of Fire 
(loosely alluded to and parodied in Ove's Playing Away) sent its producers 
to Hollywood with the belligerent marketing cry — "The British are 
coming! " — echoing the patriotic theme of the movie itself. In the same year. 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 25 



in the wake of inner-city riots, the "put-together" Anglo-nationalisra so 
readily and sordid!) invoked in the Falklands War showed how durable the 
grand narratives o\ Empire still are. 

The fact is that traditional ideologies of race and nation are not being 
disengaged gracefully : indeed, the culturalist discourse of the "new racism" 
and the sophisticated defense of the ethnicity of Englishness developed by 
intellectuals of the new right, from Enoch Powell to Roger Scruton. 
demonstrates that the understanding and representation of British history is 
now a crucial site of cultural contestation. The renewed fascination with the 
exotic landscapes of the post-colonial periphery — India. Africa. Austra- 
lia — that features so prominent]) in mainstream cinema in the eighties. 
suggests a remy thification of the colonial past. 

This itself is contradictory as the renewal of a characteristically English 
discourse of liberalism in films like Cry Freedom cannot be collapsed 
together w ith the exploitation of these imaginary spaces of the Third World 
as a backdrop for routine romance and adventure in films like Out of Africa 
and U hue Mischief (sic >. As an intervention in this conjuncture of images, 
the dialogic recoding of race, nation, and ethnicity in black British cultural 
production helps us make "good sense" out of a bad situation. In the context 
of the post-riots, post-miners' strike, post-welfare state society of the 
present, the questioning of national identity from the margin interrupts, like 
a spoke in the wheel, the recentering of cultural identity in popular culture 
and populist mobilizations. 



However, like all sectors of independent oppositional production, the 
future of radical black practice is uncertain. The Thatcher Government's 
impending legislation on the deregulation of public service TV (which has 
been so essential for independent filmmaking) is likely to bring about a 
short-term expansion of opportunities. But, without the "protection" that 
the public service ethos provides, a nonregulated market would clearly 
threaten to reghettoize black and other minority cultural voices firmly back 
into the margins. Moreover, the authoritarian reregulation of media "stan- 
dards." w ith the avowed commitment to censorship, promises even further 
contradictions. How the filmmakers negotiate survivability, how diverse 
audiences take up their work, and how public funding institutions adapt to 
the Realpolitik of cultural diversity are just some of the questions that will 
affect the future of black British film. Perversely enough, one of the most 
worrying issues becomes: Which parts of our national audiovisual culture 
do we want to preserve, conserve, and defend against the encroaching law 
of the marketplace? 



Kobena Mercer has contributed reviews, reports, and articles on black film 
to Screen. New Socialist, and Undercut. He coordinated the Black Film/ 
British Cinema conference and has coedited a recent issue of Screen. 
entitled The Last "Special Issue" on Race?. 

e 1988 Kobena Mercer 



NOTES 

1. Black Film/British Cinema was held on February 6. 1988. at the Institute for 
Contemporary Arts and sponsored by the Production Division and former Ethnic 
Ad\ isor of the British Film Institute. The title, incidentally, was derived from a day 
event organized by Peter Hames at Stoke Regional Film Theatre in November 1987. 

2. Reece Auguiste. "Handsworth Songs: Some Background Notes."" in Framework, 
No. 35. 1988. p. 6. 

3. See Salman Rushdie. '"The Raj Revival."' Observer. April 1984: reprinted in John 
Twhchin ied.1. The Black and White Media Book (Trentham Books. 1988). p. 130: 
and Farrukh Dhondy. '"Ghandi: Myth and Reality." in Emergency, No. 1. 1984. 

4. Jim Pines. "The Cultural Context of Black British Cinema." in Mbye Cham and 
Claire Andrade-Watkins (eds.) BlackFrames: Critical Perspectives on Black 
Independent Cinema (MIT Press. 1988). p. 26. This publication was produced as pan 
of Celebration of Black Cinema, a program featuring a range of black British film, 
held in Boston. April 1988. 

5. Like the Kemer Commission of 1968. which influenced his recommendations. 
Lord Scarman offered a reading of the Brixton riots as caused by social disadv antage. 

6. An overview of black arts in the eighties is provided by Kwesi Owusu (ed.). 
Storms of the Heart: An Anthology of Black Arts and Culture ( Camden Press. 1 988). 

7. For a critique for Channel Four's initial entertainment and current affairs 
programs addressed to the Afro-Caribbean communities, see Paul Gilroy . "Bridgehead 
or Bantustan?." Screen. Vol. 24. Nos. 4-5. 1983. 

8. See Phil Cohen and Carl Gardner (eds.). It ain't half racist mum (Comedia/ 
Campaign Against Racism in the Media. 1982). For reflections on a BBC Open Door 
program produced by CARM. see Stuart Hall. "The Whites of Their Eyes: Racist 
Ideologies and the Media." in Bridges and Brunt (eds. i. Silver Linings (Lawrence 
and Wishan. 1981). 

9. Funding policies in relation to the black arts movement are critically examined 
in Kwesi Owusu. The Struggle for Black Arts in Britain (Comedia. 1986). 

10. The event, organized by Parminder Vir and and coordinated by June Givanni. is 
documented in Third Eye: Struggle for Black and Third World Cinema (GLC Race 
Equality Unit. 1986). 

1 1 . For two conflicting accounts of the event, see my report in Screen, Vol. 27. No. 
6. 1986 (reprinted in The Independent. April 1987) and David Will's report in 
Framework. Nos. 32/33. 1 986. The rather ethnocentric views expressed in the latter 
are the subject of a counter-reply in Clyde Taylor. "Eurocentrics vs. New Thought 



at Edinburgh." Framework. No. 34. 1987. Proceedings from the conference will be 
published in Jim Pines and Paul Willemen (eds.). Third Cinema (British Film 
Institute [forthcoming]). 

12. See Jim Pines. "Black in Films: The British Angle." in Multiracial Education 
(Special Issue on Race and the Media). Vol. 9. No. 2. 1981. The analysis of ethnic 
stereotyping is also discussed by Homi Bhabha in his influential essay, "The Other 
Question: The Stereotype and Colonial Discourse." Screen, Vol. 24. No. 4. 1983. 

13. Stuart Hall. "Racism and Reaction." in Five Views on Multiracial Britain, 
Commission for Racial Equality. 1979. p. 25: see also. Stuart Hall. "The Whites of 
their Eyes. "op. cit. 

14. Jim Pines, in BlackFrames. op. cit., p. 29. 

15. See Sally Sayers and Layleen Jayamanne. "Burning an Illusion." in Charlotte 
Brundson (ed.). Films for Women (British Film Institute, 1986). See also Martine 
Attille and Maureen Blackwood. "Black Women and Representation" in the same 
volume. 

16. Dick Hebdige. "Digging for Britain: an excavation in seven parts." in The British 
Edge (Institute of Contemporary Arts. Boston, 1987). 

17. I have drawn on Bahktin's concept of dialogism. developed in The Dialogic 
Imagination (University of Texas. 1981 ) in my essay. "Diaspora Culture and the 
Dialogic Imagination: The Aesthetics of Black Independent film in Britain." in 
BlackFrames. op. cit. See also, on the range of arguments around aesthetics, 
contributions to Undercut. No. 17. 1988. from the Cultural Identities conference 
held at the Commonwealth Institute in March 1986. 

18. Bhabha's concept of "hybridity" is developed in "Signs Taken for Wonders: 
Questions of Ambivalence and Authority Under a Tree Outside Delhi. May 1817." 
in Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (ed.). Race. Writing and Difference (University of 
Chicago. 1988). Gilroy 's discussion of syncretism and diasporean culture is developed 
in There Ain't No Black in the Union Jack (Hutchinson. 1988). see especially 
Chapter 5. "Diaspora. Utopia and the critique of capitalism." 

19. In Paul Gilroy and Jim Pines. "Handsworth Songs: Audiences/ Aesthetics/ 
Independence." Interview with Black Audio Film Collective, Framework, No. 35. 
1988. p. 11. 

20. In "The Passion of Remembrance: Background." Framework. Nos. 32/33. p. 
101: reprinted in Black Film British Cinema. 

21. New Statesman. December 5. 1986. 



26 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1989 



FESTIVALS 

IDENTITY CRISIS: THE LESBIAN AND GAY 
EXPERIMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL 




Decodings was one 
of two films by 
Michael Wallin 
presented at the 
second New York 
Lesbian and Gay 
Experimental Film 
Festival. 



Courtesy filmmaker 



Tom Kalin 



In darkened auditoriums we learn the cool pro- 
tected distance of the voyeur, while at home, in 
living rooms, we learn the intimacy of TV as 
furniture and friend. In the movies (and at home) 
we are shown a parallel world in which we are 
merely disembodied viewers, essentially invis- 
ible, spectators to a narrative in which we can 
effect no change, merely watching the inevitable 
progression to resolution whether we like it or not. 
Often we see no one remotely like ourselves, and 
we learn that some people never make it into the 
frame. A Queer Kind of Film: The Second Annual 
Lesbian and Gay Experimental Film Festival 
provided an opportunity to interrupt our viewing 
habits and consider the politically necessary but 
troublesome question of a "homosexual iden- 
tity" — gay or lesbian. For the so-called general 



population — that mythical group the mass media 
claims to address — the question of a gay pres- 
ence, if asked at all, appears irrelevant. For the rest 
of us, the experience of reading the words "gen- 
eral population" coupled with recent legal ac- 
tions — such as the 1986 Supreme Court decision 
that upheld state laws criminalizing sodomy — 
compels us to represent ourselves lest we disap- 
pear altogether. 

Organized by writer Sara Schulman and film- 
maker Jim Hubbard, the festival featured 62 films 
by 58 filmmakers, playing to packed houses for 
six nights at the Millennium Film Workshop in 
New York City's East Village. Structured roughly 
according to thematic and formal categories, the 
event's 1 2 programs — each one-and-a-half to three 
hours in length — constituted less a curatorial state- 
ment than an attempt to make a range of work 
visible. The 1988 festival was only the second 
edition of this unique event and the addition of a 



panel discussion provided a sorely needed public 
forum, tackling the thorny question, "Does radi- 
cal content require radical form?" Barbara Ham- 
mer, who moderated the panel of filmmakers 
Abigail Child, Tom Chomont, Su Friedrich, and 
Hubbard, equated experimental filmmaking with 
an "experimental lifestyle" and assigned an innate 
radicality to both. In a similar vein, Schulman and 
Hubbard stated in their program notes. "The exper- 
imental process mirrors, in many ways, the proc- 
ess of understanding a gay identity." Any such 
discussion however, enters tricky terrain since 
neither experimental film nor identity are stable 
entities, but rather, unstable, susceptible to change, 
determined by the specific social and political 
conditions in which both are formed. Even to 
speak of a "gay identity" is for the most part a First 
World privilege, and such discussion can easily 
overshadow the equally important aspects of class, 
race, gender, and experience which comprise any 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 27 



Black Film Review 



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Forums on Black images in film 
and video. Updates on efforts to 
increase minority participation 
in the film industry. Features 
on the rich history of blacks in 
American filmmaking. 

Black Film Review. 

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Abigail Childs refers to 
the sexual conventions 
of film noir, soap opera, 
and Mexican comic 
books in her film 
Mayhem. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



particular identity. 

Recognizing this, the panel quickly acknowl- 
edged the contradictions inherent in the notions of 
experimental film and gay identity. Hubbard, 
whose own films are rooted in experimental docu- 
mentary, vented hostility toward narrative and as- 
serted that the mythology supporting narrative 
film — the nuclear family, the blissfulness of het- 
erosexuality, the happy ending — deteriorates even 
while those films continue to be made. Su Fried- 
rich, however, was less willing to dismiss narra- 
tive form. She began by challenging the heady 
word "radical." calling into question the alleged 
separation between form and content. Citing Stan 
Brakhage as an example, Friedrich debated the 
inherent radicality of using experimental filmmak- 
ing techniques, noting the tension beween Brak- 
hages's conventional subject matter ("his family, 
his w ife as muse, himself as genius artist") and his 
innovative, unconventional form. Conversely, she 
conceded that documentary' and narrative films, 
though laden with a grim history of audience 
manipulation, had profoundly challenged herper- 
sonal and social assumptions. 

Friedrich's films address this ability to juggle 
the experimental with conventions of documen- 
tary or narrative, and her 1982 Gently Down the 
Stream remains strikingly fresh, one of the festi- 
val's most articulate examples of structural film- 
making. Making her words at once physical and 
silent, she scratches the contents of her dreams 
directly on the film, often accompanied by repeti- 
tive images of women swimming and exercis- 
ing — each word flickering on screen for 1 8 frames. 
Forcing us to read one word at a time, the voice of 
a narrator is displaced with each viewer "s reading 
o? to? pMiWts vf, s&xvuAVty avid nttud . Friedriefe' s 
work was included in a program of structural films 
that included Warren Sonbert's The Cup and the 
Lip and Roger Jacoby's Aged in Wood. Unfortu- 
nately, both filing suffered in this context. Sonbert's 
cryptic, elegant and architectural film was flat- 
tened when played back to back with two other 
silent films. Jacoby's almost invisible film — which 
mainly shows the grain of the film stock and only 



faint images — pays lip ser-vice to Bette Davis and 
her longstanding role as a figure of identification 
for gay men by picturing an audience watching All 
About Eve and mouthing Davis' lines. Jacoby's 
other films, including How to Be a Homosexual, 
Part 1 , although not included in the festival, are 
hand-processed quirky fables, often starring his 
lover and Warhol Factory superstar Ondine. A 
single isolated work by this filmmaker seemed 
stranded and small in this context. 

During the panel discussion, Abigail Child as- 
serted. "We look at content, we look /row form." 
while pointing out that only in North America and 
Western Europe do we have the permission to 
indulge in lengthy debates on the nature of what is 
experimental. She focussed on lesbian and gay 
expressions as a permission to speak, an admis- 
sion of difference within a culture of uniformity. 
One such admission. Childs' film Mayhem (re- 
cently censored in Tokyo for its use of Japanese 
lesbian erotica) recalls the sexual conventions 
prevalent in film noir. Even the costumes in the 
film are reduced to the shorthand of genitalia, wo- 
men in dots, men in stripes. But Mayhem insinu- 
ates an inverted social order: Men lounge like 
coquettes in black panties; women alternately 
strangle them and return their stares. Mayhem 
reminds us that our bodies belong as much to the 
history of cinema as they do to our lovers, recall- 
ing Angela Carter's observation in The Sadeian 
Woman, "But our flesh arrives to us out of history, 
like everything else does. We may believe we 
fuck stripped of social artifice: in bed we even feel 
we touch the bedrock of human nature itself. But 
we are deceived." 

CMd 's decision to work within the oppressive 
cOTivtvAwns v& cmenwftvc ttochis in m\ tvfcrt to 
disrupt them was reiterated in a number of other 
films in the festival including Midi Onodera's Ten 
Cents a Dance (Parallax ), Curt McDowell's Con- 
fessions, and Juliet Bashore's Kamikaze Hearts. 
Cleverly isolating her individuals by using a split 
screen device. Onodera's three-part series of ma- 
ting vignettes nevertheless perpetuate stereotypes 
of lesbians (all talk, no action), gay men (all sex. 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1989 



no talk), and straights (lots of talk, simulated sex) 
without significantly questioning these catego- 
ries. Touted as causing a "near riot" in San Fran- 
cisco (presumably for the rather tame simulated 
tea room sex), Onodera's film relies on our knowl- 
edge of stereotypes for its humor but stops short of 
making a social critique or providing alternatives 
to typecast sexuality. 

Similarly, Kamikaze Hearts uses the cliches of 
the porn industry toexamine those who live within 
it. Attempting to "hurt the voyeur" by reducing 
our protected distance from the actresses and 
allowing her audience a strong identification with 
Tigr, who is both a character in the film and an 
actual person working as a porn producer/actress, 
Bashore refuses to ignore the complex and his- 
toric interconnections between sex work and les- 
bian culture. But Bashore also editorializes on the 
porn industry, using devices that emphasize isola- 
tion and artifice. We see Tigr and her lover Mitch 
trapped under ladders, pinned under cameras, as 
well as Tigr directing Mitch during a sex scene. 
Presenting a difficult blend of fiction, documen- 
tary, and morality play, the film ends with a 
cynical vision of alienated sexuality — wagging 
her needle at the camera after they shoot cocaine, 
Mitch taunts, "This is my dick. I fucked her with 
my dick, and she loved it." 

Several other films in the festival attempted to 
directly confront questions of social identity, 
among them Michael Wallin's Decodings and 
The Place between Our Bodies and Robert Gates 
and Lynn Wyatt's Communication from Weber. 
All three share a recognition of the varied ways in 
which we make ourselves up out of bits of movies 
and magazines, unconsciously creating slivered 
and contradictory personae from a world of role 
models. Although made 13 years apart, both of 
Wallin's films deal with a persistent yet contra- 
dictory vision of the body, at once "free" sexually 
while controlled socially. Decodings presents an 
even paced collection of archival footage accom- 
panied by a long, unadorned narration and music 
by Shostakovich. Wallin does more than quote the 
medical training films and stock dramas he has 
retrieved from the vaults, however. By conflating 
images from the world outside with personal, 
anecdotal experience he shows how deeply brand- 
ed we are by the world of images and the signs of 
social coercion — a point made in scenes of open 
heart surgery, boys boxing blindfolded, mechani- 
cal arms with hooks instead of fingers fastening 
suit buttons, cars leaping through fire, and so on. 
On the soundtrack, a man's voice speaks about 
psychological collapse, boyhood homoerotic 
games of goosing, official sounding medical diag- 
noses, and oral sex in the desert with a Marine. 
Decodings delineates some of the overlaps of 
militarism and sexuality, medical examination 
and child's play, offering a reminder of how we 
can become alienated from our skin even as we 
live in it. As spectators we watch the distinction 
between our own lives and the fictions of film 
become blurred, indistinct. Wallin's earlier film. 



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The Place between Our Bodies, begins by con- 
templating the standard definition of gay male 
identity circa 1975 as promiscuous, absorbed in 
the consuming world of pornography. As the film 
unfolds however, it yields to a celebration of the 
possibility of a relationship. Hardly polished — 
and often uncomfortable — the film pictures ex- 
plicit sex but cannot be reduced to pornography. 

During both the screenings of The Place be- 
tween Our Bodies that I attended an AZT beeper 
happened to go off in the audience, a signal not 
only to a person with AIDS to take medication but 
also a sign of just how long ago 1975 seems. 
A.I.D.S.C.R.E.A.M.. by Jerry Tartaglia. and No 
Photo Required, by Larry Brose, expressed rage 
and a recognition of the feelings of victimization 
that result from AIDS. Unfortunately, both did 
this without admitting the possibility of effective 
activist resistence. A third film about AIDS in the 
festival — Catching Fire, a dramatic narrative film 
along the lines of a daytime soap) — added nothing 
to the discussion of the issues at least raised by 
Tartaglia*s and Brose's films. In contrast to these 
films. The Place between Our Bodies crudely yet 
effectively states a case for the importance of 
picturing gay and lesbian sex, countering the pre- 
vailing social climate that counsels abstinence, 
just saying "no." However, Communication from 
Weber most consistently addressed the question 
of identity. Gates and Wyatt's film employs a 
skewed documentary format to unfurl the banner 
of Albert Michael Weber/Sabina. a self-proclaimed 
"full-time third sex role transgender person." 
Weber explains that he initially took up cross- 
dressing as a masquerade to avoid masturbation, 
but he came to exploit his confusion of sexual 
identities as a retaliation against compulsory he- 
terosexual sexism, "to show honestly both deep 
pain and exploitation of women." At one point, 
Weber asks his girlfriend to speak to him as both 
Albert and Sabina. effectively short-circuiting the 
myth of a coherent persona. At another moment, 
he shows his slip beneath jeans and flannel work- 
shirt, confiding that his clothes reveal the entire 
story of his day. In Communication the body be- 
comes the ultimate costume, socially framed and 
controlled, but still allowing its individual, mel- 
ancholic voice to speak about alternate life. 

The "queer kind of film" that Schulman and 
Hubbard have helped to cultivate admits such his- 
tories, such separate, idiosyncratic voices. Al- 
though the festival could have benefitted from 
programming that depended less on stylistic group- 
ings and attempted to link works conceptually, the 
categorical structure most likely reflects the pre- 
vailing ideas about how to attract a sizable audi- 
ence to such events. Still, the festival's apparent 
health in its second year and the fact that it will 
once again travel around the country are hopeful 
signs for the future. At the same time, a more 
thorough survey of gay and lesbian voices might 
include not just filmmakers but lesbian and gay 
work in video as well. It might also serve the 
interests of the festival's audience — or perhaps a 
wider audience — if the programmers didn't take 



30 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1989 



gay and lesbian sexuality as their sole criteria. We 
must gain even greater visibility so that others 
may see what we knew all along. Our speech has 
been too long withheld. As Sabina/Albert Mi- 
chael declares in Communication from Weber, "I 
can see entire life. Cannot tell half to anyone." 

Tom Kalin is a film- and videomaker living in New- 
York City, whose latest tape is They are lost to 
vision altogether. 

IN BRIEF 



This month's festivals have been 
compiled by Kathryn Bowser, direc- 
tor of the Fl VF Festival Bureau. Listings 
do not constitute an endorsement & 
since some details change fasterthan 
we do, we recommend that you 
contact the festival for further infor- 
mation before sending prints or tapes. 
If your experience differs from our 
account, please let us know so we 
can improve our reliability. 



DOMESTIC 

Ann Arbor Film Festival, Mar. 21-26. MI. 27th 
annual exhibition for "all films that demonstrate a high 
regard for film as a creative medium." Oldest 16mm 
fest in the country, w/ long tradition of showcasing 
independent & experimental films. Over 100 films 
shown each yr in programs that incorporate variety of 
styles: doc. animation, experimental, shorts, small fea- 
tures. No special cats, guidelines, or requirements for 
entries. Awards incl. Tom Berman Award to most 
promising filmmaker ($ 1000) & Marvin Felheim Award 
($100); about $4000 in addt'l awards given at judges' 
discretion. Selected participating filmschosen by awards 
jury go on nat'l tour to colleges & film showcases after 
fest; rental fee of $l/min. paid. Entry fee: $25. Format: 
16mm. Deadline: Mar. 3. Film arrival deadline: Mar. 
16. Ann Arbor Film Festival, Box 8232, Ann Arbor, MI 
48107; (313)995-5356. 

Asian American International Film Festival, June, 
NY. Producers, directors, writer/producers & writer/ 
directors of Asian heritage eligible to participate in non- 
competitive 5-day showcase, now in 12th edition & 
country 's oldest fest of films by established & emerging 
Asian/Asian American filmmakers. Last yr's program 
marked by record attendance & extensive press cover- 
age. Features & shorts accepted: experimental, doc, 
narrative, performance pieces, adaptations. Program 
goes on int'l tour after opening. No entry fee. Format: 
35mm, 1 6mm; preview on cassette or rough cut. Dead- 
line: Mar. 3 1 . Contact: Marlina Gonzalez, Asian Cine- 
Vision, 32 E. Broadway. New York, NY 10002; (212) 
925-8685. 

Asian Pacific American International Film Festi- 
val, May, CA. Accepts films dealing w/ (but not 
limited to) Asian Pacific & Asian Pacific American 
culture, history & experiences. Cosponsored by Visual 
Communications & UCLA Film & TV Archive. Fea- 
ture, dramatic/narrative, doc, experimental & animated 
works incl. 4th annual program incl. regional showcase 
of recent work of Asian Pacific filmmakers in Southern 
CA as well as int'l selection of films from countries of 
Pacific Rim. No entry fee. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 



super 8; preview on cassette. Deadline: Jan. 31. Con- 
tact: Abraham Ferrer, Asian Pacific American Interna- 
tional Film Festival. Visual Communications, 263 S. 
Los Angeles St., Suite 307, Los Angeles, CA 90012; 
(213)680-4462. 

Athens International Film & Video Festival. Apr. 
28-May 6, OH. Now in 16th yr, fest committed to 
presentation of work of int'l ind. film artists. This yr 
Athens Video Festival merges w/ film fest. Prizes total 
$6000. Cats: experimental, doc, traditional narrative, 
experimental narrative, animation. All work must be 
completed btwn Mar. 1987 & Mar. 1989. Entry fee: 
$20-30, depending on length. Format: 35mm, 16mm. 
super 8, 3/4", 1/2". Deadline: Feb. 10 (video), Mar. 17 
(film). Contact: Craig Stevens/Ruth Bradley, Athens 
International Film & Video Festival, Box 388, Athens, 
OH 45701; (614)593-1330. 

Atlanta Film & Video Festival, May 10-14, GA. 
Juried competitive fest for new, ind. animated, narra- 
tive, doc, experimental & student works of all lengths, 
now in 13th yr. $5000 in cash & equip, prizes. Judges 
this yr: Neil Seiling of Intermedia Arts & video artist 
Lisa Steele (video); Scott Mac Donald of Utica College 
& ind. documentarian Jan Krawitz (film). Work must 
be produced inlast2yrs. Entry fee: $25. Format: 16mm, 
super 8. Deadline: Feb. 10. Contact: Shellie Fleming, 
Atlanta Film & Video Festival, IMAGE Film/Video 
Center, 75 Bennett St., NW, Suite M-l, Atlanta, GA 
30309; (404) 352-4225. 

Birmingham International Educational Film Festi- 
val, Apr. 3-21, AL. 17th annual edition of competitive 
fest for "creative films for lifetime learning." 14 cats 
incl. Americana, arts, business/industry, early child- 
hood, energy/environment, health/physical ed, human 
relations, independent/student, language arts, math/ 
science, religion/philosophy, special challenges, social 
sciences, teacher/career education. Awards: Best of 
Fest (Electra statuette & $1000); Silver Electra & $500 
to best film & best video; Best of Category for best film 
& video in each cat. Finalists receive certificate of 
recognition. Work must be completed btwn Jan. 1, 1987 
& Jan. 1, 1989 & be under 60 min. Synopsis must 
accompany each entry. Entry fees: commercial/non- 
commercial $25-40 before Jan. 20, $30-50 after; stu- 
dent $15 before Jan. 20, $20 after. Format: 16mm, 1/2". 
Deadline: Jan. 3 1 . Contact: BIEFF, c/o Alabama Power, 
Box 2641, Birmingham, AL 35291-0665; (205) 250- 
2550 or BIEFF, c/o Jean Wilson, 508 Central Ave., 
Bessemer, AL 35020; (205) 426-0656. 

Daniel Wadsworth Memorial Video Festival, 
February, CT. Open competition for ind. experimental/ 
art video, subjective/hybrid docs & cross-genre works. 
Opening reception Feb. 1 7; exhibition continues through 
Mar. 17. Work must be completed after Jan. 1, 1987 & 
under 30 min. No formal cats; competition awards 6 
prizes: $500 grand prize, $400 2nd prize, 4 $200 fest 
prizes (prizes incl. purchase price of tapes to be added 
to collection of Real Art Ways). 1 35 works entered last 
yr. No entry fee, but entrants pay return postage. For- 
mat: 3/4", 1/2". Deadline: Jan. 31. Contact: Real Art 
Ways, 94 Allyn St., Hartford. CT 06103; (203) 525- 
5521. 

Herland Film & Video Festival. April. NY. Sensitiv- 
ity to women's issues & creativity inform selections for 
3rd edition of fest for works for & about women. All 
genres accepted. Entry fee: $5. Format: 3/4", 1/2", Beta, 
16mm, 8mm. Deadline: April 4. Contact: Oswego Art 
Guild, Box 315, Ft. Ontario Pk., Oswego, NY 13126; 
(315) 342-3579. 











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Guido Chiesa US representative, 
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Janet 6 r i llo Director of Acquisitions, 
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Gordon Hitchens US representative, 
Berlin International Film Festival and 
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Joanne Koch Executive Director, 
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Homi lows USA Video Festival. March, DC. I2ih 
annual cable program compeiition. sponsored by Na- 
tional Federation of Local Cable Programmers. Recog- 
nizes outstanding programs produced by/for local origi- 
nation facilities & public, educational & governmental 
access. Open to media professionals & community 
volunteer producers. Work must have 1st public show- 
ing on local cable channel &cablecast after Mar. 1988. 
Entry cats incl. performing arts, ethnic expression, 
entertainment, sports, youth, live, municipal, religious, 
education, senior citizen, doc, video art. music video, 
original teleplay, PSA. local news, magazine format. 
Entries judged throughout country & finalists announced 
in May. Entries rated not only on execution but on how 
they "address community concerns," "challenge tradi- 
tional commercial TV formats" & on "unique & crea- 
tive ways in which they approach subject." Winners' 
ceremony held during NFLCP nat' I convention in Dallas 
in July. Last yr fest received 1760 entries from 360 
cities in 40 states. Entry fee: $20-35. depending on entry 
classification. Format: 3/4", 1/2". Beta. Deadline: Mar 
15. Contact: Reginald Carter. Hometown USA Video 
Festival, Box 27290. Washington. DC 20038; (202) 
829-7186 (inquiries only, no entries). 

Houston International Film Festival, Apr. 21-30, 
TX. 1 1th annual edition: receives largest number of 
entries of int'l fests (2500 last yr). Last yr also saw 
premiere of 75 features from 21 countries. Over 200 
shorts, docs, TV & experimental films shown. Cats: 
theatrical features (animated, doc, 1st feature, foreign, 
ind.. low-budget, major studio); TV (sub-cats incl. 
analysis of single current news story, continuing news 
story, made-for-tv feature, indiv. on-camera talent, ind. 
video, information, cultural or historical programming, 
in-house, local public service, directing, writing, TV 
special); doc films & videos; shorts; TV commercials; 
experimental films & videos (animation, comedy, com- 
puter graphics, dramatic, art, live action, mixed media); 
super 8: music videos: new media. Awards: Gold Grand 
Award for best entry in each major cat. Gold Special 
Jury Award. Gold, Silver & Bronze Awards. Film & 
video judged equally in competition. Workshops & 
seminars also held. Entry fee: $25-150. Format: 35mm, 
16mm. 3/4", 1/2". Deadline: Mar. 1. Contact: J. Hunter 
Todd, director. Houston International Film Festival, 
Box 56566. Houston, TX 77256; (713) 965-9955; telex 
317876 TODDCORP HOU; fax: (713) 965-9960. 

Monitor Awards. September, CA. Sponsored by 
nonprofit trade assoc. Int'l Teleproduction Society, 
dedicated to support audio & video production & post- 
prod. Awards presented to below-the-line profession- 
als in 18 cats, incl. entertainment programming (film 
originated), computer animation, music video, news/ 
doc. corporate, children's, promos, show reels. W/in 
each cat. awards go to producers, directors, editors, 
designers of special FX. computer animation & video 
paint, plus sound mixers, camerapeople & lighting 
directors. Entries must be produced or postproduced 
during 1988. Individual & corporate entries accepted. 
Entry fees: $90-140. Format: 3/4". Deadline: Feb. 15. 
Contact: Monica Mathis. Int'l Monitor Awards, 990 6th 
Ave., #2 IE, New York, NY 10018; (212) 629-3266: 
fax:(212)629-3265. 

National Council on Family Relations Media 
Awards Competition. May. MN. Recognizes films, 
videos & filmstrips on marriage & family topics. 21st 
yr. 1 1 competition cats: human development, parent- 
ing, non-traditional family systems. marital/family issuev 
& comunication, sexuality & sex role development, 
alcohol & drug abuse, human repro. & family planning. 



32 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1989 



stress/transition & crisis management, contemp. social 
issues, families w/ special needs, abuse & neglect. 
Submissions must be completed after Jan. 1, 1987. Best 
of Category awards given for each format. Entry fees: 
S60-190, depending upon length. Deadlines: filmstrips 
& 1/2": Mar. 17; 16mm: Apr. 10. Contact: National 
Council on Family Relations, 1910 W. County Rd. B, 
Suite 147, St. Paul, MN 551 13; (612) 633-6933. Send 
entries to: Marilyn Coleman. Dept. of Child & Family 
Development, 28 Stanley Hall. Univ. of Missouri, 
Columbia, MO 6521 1; (314) 882-4360/4035. 

Newark Black Film Festival, June/July, NJ. New 
independent films and videos created by black film- 
makers or reflecting black culture invited to participate 
in 1 5th anniv. edition of fest. Runs 6 wks in June & July 
before large, diverse audiences. Fest also presents Paul 
Robeson Awards to films embodying excellence in 
noncommercial ind. filmmaking. All styles & genres 
sought. Cash awards totalling at least $4000 distributed 
among 4 films. Enter competition separately. Format: 
16mm. 1". 3/4", 1/2"; preview on cassette preferred. 
Deadline: Feb. 15 for fest. Apr. 5 for competition. 
Contact: Newark Black Film Festival, Newark Mu- 
seum, 49 Washington St., Box 540, Newark, NJ 07101; 
(201) 596-6550 (call before submitting work). 

Palo Alto Film & Video Festival, May, CA. Re- 
gional competitive showcase restricted to N. CA ind. 
filmmakers. In 14th yr (after hiatus last yr), fest offers 
S3000 in prizes, w/ $1000 going to best in fest. Entries 
should be under 60 min. Format: 16mm, 3/4"; preview 
on 1/2". Deadline: Mar. 1 1. Contact: Susan Tavernetti, 
director, Palo Alto Film & Video Festival, 1313 Newell 
Rd., Palo Alto, CA 94303; (415) 329-2122. 

Retirement Research Foundation National Media 
Owl Awards, May, IL. Dedicated to works that ad- 
dress issues related to "aging, capturing authentic images 
of older persons & illuminating the challenge & prom- 
ise of an aging society," competition takes entries in 4 
cats: independent film & video; TV & theatrical film 
fiction; TV nonfiction; training films & tapes. Prizes 
totalling over $30,000 range from $500-5,000; Owl 
statuettes also awarded. Entries must have been pro- 
duced in US & released or initally broadcast/cablecast 
btwn Jan. 1 & Dec. 31, 1988. Sponsored by Retirement 
Research Foundation, established by John MacArthur. 
Deadline: Feb. 1. Contact: Joyce Bolinger, project 
director. Center for New Television, 912 S. Wabash, 
Chicago, IL 60605; (312) 427-5446. 

USA Film Festival. Apr. 13-19, TX. 19th annual 
invitational fest, originally established to celebrate US 
filmmakers. Includes 11th annual nat'l short film & 
video competition, dedicated this yr to Charles Samu. 
Awards of $1000 given to best narrative, nonfiction & 
animation/experimental works; winners invited to Dallas 
for awards ceremony. Other smaller cash jury prizes 
awarded at jury's discretion. Length: under 40 min. 
Work must be completed in previous yr. Entry fee: $35 
(shorts). Format: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2", Beta. Larger 
fest features Dallas premieres of new major films w/ 
special film tributes & other events. Deadline: Mar. 1 
for shorts. Mar. 7 for other fest entries. Contact: Richard 
Peterson, USA Film Festival, 2909-B Canton St., Dal- 
las, TX 75226; (214) 744-5400. 

Video Shorts Festival, Feb. 11-12. WA. 8th annual 
int'l competition for short noncommercial video art- 
works up to 6 min. 1 winners receive $ 100 honorarium 
& incl. in fest archive. Formats: 3/4", 1/2" (NTSC). 
Entry fee: $10/tape ($5 each addt'l. entry on tape). 
Deadline: Feb. 1 . Contact: Video Shorts Festival, 1 33 1 



Third Ave., Suite 518, Seattle. WA 98101; (206) 628- 
0838. 

FOREIGN 

Bergamo International Festival of Author Films, 
Mar. 9-14, Italy. Exhibition for 1st releases (outside 
country of origin) & unshown at other int'l fests. 
Competitive & info sections accept doc & narrative 
features. Last yr 20 films in competition. Producer & 
director split $3600 in grand prize money; other special 
jury prizes go to best score, actor, actress, scenario & 
best 1st work. Format: 35mm, 16mm. Deadline: Jan. 
30. Contact: Nino Zuchelli, director, Mostra Internazi- 
onale del Film D'Autore. Rotonda dei Mille. 1, Ber- 
gamo, Italy; tel: 243566; telex: 300408. 

Cannes International Film Festival. May 11-25. 
France. 42nd yr of world's most celebrated film fest, 
attended by tens of thousands, incl. stars, directors, 
distribs, buyers & journalists. Fest offers ideal situ- 
ations for making transactions at abundant parties, 
press events, meetings, seminars & screenings. Critical 
exposure at Cannes can be important to film's commer- 
cial success. Participation can be expensive: advertis- 
ing, press materials, publicists, foreign reps, possible 
35mm blowup & subtitling may cost thousands. Fest 
sections: Official Selection (incl. Official Competition) 
for features & shorts; Special Out-of-Competition, for 
features ineligible for competition because of previous 
awards, invited by jury: Un Certain Regard, for fea- 
tures, docs, compilation films & films by new directors, 
out-of -competition (18 films); Quinzaine des Reali- 
sateurs (Director's Fortnight), the main sidebar for 
auteur films w/ purpose of discovering new talent/ 
innovations, sponsored by Assoc, of French Film Di- 
rectors (18 features); le Semaine de Critique (Interna- 
tional Critics' Week), noncompetitive selection of 1st 
or 2nd features & docs chosen by members of French 
Film Critics Union (7 films). Market, administered 
separately, screens films in main venue (formerly Palais 
des Festivals, torn down last yr) & local theaters (500 
films participated last yr). Entries for official selection 
& Director's Fortnight must be completed in previous 
12 mos., European premieres & not shown in other 
major int'l fests. Int'l Critics Week selections must be 
completed w/in 2 yrs prior to fest. Top prizes incl. 
Official Competition's Palme d'Or (feature & short) & 
Camera d'Or (1st feature director) in any section. For 
info & accreditation, contact: Catherine Verret, French 
Film Office, 745 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10151; 
(212) 832-8860. Pierre-Henri Deleau. director of Quin- 
zaines des Realisateurs, is usually in NYC in early Mar. 
to seek entries. Interested filmmakers should send short 
synopsis & credit list to French Film Office & request 
an appl.; screening time at filmmaker's expense. Offi- 
cial Section: Festival International du Film (deadline 
Mar. 1), 71, rue du Faubourg St. Honore, 75008 Paris, 
France, tel: 1 42669220, telex: 650765. Quinzaine des 
Realisateurs (deadline Apr. 7), Societe des Realisateurs 
de Films, 2 1 5 Faubourg St. Honore, 75008 Paris, France, 
tel: 1 45610166, telex: 220064 ref. 1311. Semaine 
International de la Critique (deadline Mar. 1 ), Robert 
Chazal, president, 73, rue d' Anjou, 75008 Paris, France, 
tel: 1 3873616, telex: 650407/408. Cannes Film Mar- 
ket, 14 rue de Marigan, 75008 Paris, France, tel: (011) 
331 225-7063, telex: 270 105f TXFR A/389. 

Cracow International Festival of Short Films, 
May, Poland. Accepts shorts under 30 min. In 26th yr, 
competitive fest recognized by FIAPF & awards Grand 
Prize (Golden Dragon). 2 Special Prizes (Golden Drag- 



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cms), 4 major prizes (Silver Dragons) & special pn/es 
tor photography, screenplay &. music Competitive 
cats: doc. popular science, animated, experimental, 
teaturettes Entries should be undecorated at other int " I 
European tests & be produced in preceding yr. Particu- 
larly interested in films that "reveal changes, trends & 
achievements of 2(>ih century'" Format: 35mm. 16mm: 
preselection on cassette. Deadline: Mar. 5. Contact: 
Management Office. Cracow International Festival of 
Short Films. PI. Zwvciestwa 9. Box 127. 00-950. 
Warsaw. Poland; tel: 26-40-51; telex 813640 film pi. 

Golden Rose of Montrei x Television Festival. 
Mav 7-13, Switzerland. 29th vr of fest for light enter- 
tainment TV. open to music, comedy & variety pro- 
grams produced &/or broadcast after Mar. 19 88. 2 con- 
current competitions for netw ork entries & ind. produc- 
ers distribs. Int'l press jury awards press prize. Awards 
incl. Golden Rose of Montreuxlw/ 10.000 Swiss francs). 
Silver Rose &. Bronze Rose. Last yr fest attended by 900 
delegates from 35 countries. Deadline: Mar. 1 (inde- 
pendent prod. i: Mar. 31 (network). Contact: John E. 
Nathan. N. American rep.. 509 Madison Ave., Suite 
1810. New York. NY 10022: (212) 223-0044. 

Hiroshima International Amateur Film &. Video 
Festival. Julv. Japan. Established in 1975 to com- 
memorate anniversary of atomic bombing of Hiro- 
shima, competitive fest operates on theme of "pursuit of 
peace & a reverence for life.*" Accepted are group or 
individual amateur works of all styles emboding fest 
theme. Entries should be under 30 min. & produced 
after 1983. Prizes in each cat: Grand Prize (statuette, 
citation, travel coupon ¥500.000): President of Chugoku 
Broadcasting Co. Prize (statuette, citation, travel cou- 
pon ¥250.000); 1 1 outstanding prizes & 10 honorable 
mention prizes (statuettes & plaques). Formats: 16mm. 
8mm. 3/4". 1/2". Beta. 8mm video. Deadline: Jan. 31. 
Contact: Hiroshima Int'l Amateur Film & Video Festi- 
val Working Committee, c/o Chugoku Broadcasting 
Co.. 21-3 Motomachi. Naka-ku. Hiroshima. 730 Japan: 
tel: 082-223-1111. 

London International Amateir Film & Video Fes 
ti\ \l. March. England. 2 competition classes, open & 
amateur. "Amateur" films defined as "films/videos 
made for love w/ no financial reward & w/out profes- 
sional assistance.'" Open class for productions by 
"independent & semi-professional filmmakers & film 
school students." Certificates awarded in both cats. 
Presented by Institute of Amateur Cinematographers. 
member of Int'l. Assoc, of Amateur Film & Video 
Festiv als. Attended by audiences of 400: w inning films 
participate in 5 regional premieres. Last yr 175 entries 
from 17 countries received, w/ majority on super 8. 
Film/videomaker pays roundtrip postage. Formats: 
16mm. super 8. 8mm. 3/4". 1/2". Beta. Entry fee: £5 (£2 
junior under 17). w/ £5 addt'l for return postage & £1 
handling charge for non-IAC members. Deadline: Jan. 
15. Contact: Bernard Ashbv. IAC. Box 618. Ealing. 
London W5 1SX. England: tel: 03722 76358. 

Melbourne International Film Festival. June. 
Australia. 38th edition of one of Australia's 2 leading 
tests. Presents w ide cross-section of contemporary int'l 
cinema, incl. features, docs, video, super 8. children's 
films. Fest attracts large number of Australian & New 
Zealand buyers for theatrical, video. TV & nontheatri- 
cal rights. Feature section is noncompetitive. Int'l short 
film competition one of world's longest running: entry 
open to short fiction films less than 30 min. & docs less 
than 60 min.. 35mm & 16mm. Entry fee: SI 0. Entries in 
competition should not be awarded in other competitive 



tests Awards: Grand Prix (City of Melbourne Award 
for Best Film: S4000). Herald & Weekly Times Award 
for Best Documentary Film (SI 500). Schwartz Publish- 
ing Award for Best Experimental Film (S 1500), Special 
Awards for best fiction & animated films (SI 500 each) 
&Onevex Award for Best Student Film. Fest director's 
plan is to shift emphasis to more off-beat, unconven- 
tional work. Deadline: Mar. 30. Contact: Tail Brady, 
director. 41-45 A Beckett St.. Melbourne Victoria. 
3000 Australia: tel: (03) 663-1395; telex: 152613 
FIFEST. 

S\marem International Film & Video Festival of 
Agricultural & Environment Film. May. Portugal. 
1 5th v r of film fest & 3rd yr for video. Sections: feature 
films on theme "Man & Earth*': shorts (under 45 min.) 
on agriculture & environment; video on any theme (out 
of competition) & environment & agriculture (in com- 
petition). Gold, silver & bronze Bunch awards given, as 
well as prizes for best director, script, actor, actress. 
Format: 35mm. 3/4". 1/2". Deadline: Feb. 24. Contact: 
Santarem International Film & Video Festival of Agri- 
cultural & Environment Film. Rua Conselheiro Leal. 1 . 
2000 Santarem. Portugal: tel: (043) 22 1 30: telex: 65 164 
RETL RI P. 

Varna International Festival of Red Cross & 
Health Films. May 27-June 4. Bulgaria. In 1 3th edition 
of competitive, biennial event. Recognizes films on 
topical Red Cross, health, ecological & humanitarian 
subjects produced after Jan. 1. 1987. FIAPF-recog- 
nized. Cats: short & medium length Red Cross & health 
films under 60 min. (docs, animation, scientific, in- 
structional, etc.): feature films: TV films & programs 
under 60 min. Prizes: (short & medium length) Golden 
Ship Grand Prix of Bulgarian Red Cross President to 
best film. Grand Prix for best health film. Special Prize 
for best scientific or instructional film, 1 st & 2nd prizes 
(gold & silver medals) in each subgroup; (feature) 
Grand Prix & prizes for best direction, actress & actor 
& Special Prize of League of Red Cross & Red Crescent 
Societies for best film w/ humanitarian character; (TV 
films & programs) Grand Prix & 1st. 2nd & Special 
Prize for best film on health ed. in each subgroup. All 
films in competition receive participation diploma. 
Separate film market w/ no participation fee & 1st 60 
min. screened free. Market deadline: Apr. 5. Format: 
35mm. 16mm. 3/4". Feature cat accepts 35mm only: 
TV cat also accepts 1 " & 2". Deadline: Feb. 1 . Contact: 
Alexander Marinov. director. International Festival of 
Red Cross & Health Films. 1. Blvd. Biruzov, Sofia, 
Bulgaria: tel: 44-14-43: telex: 23248 B CH K BG. 

Yamagata International Documentary Film Festi- 
val. Oct. 10-15. Japan. Debut of Asia's first doc film 
fest. Will be biennial & competitive. Yamagata City is 
360 km NE of Tokyo & celebrating 100th anniv. Fest 
commemorates centennial & intended to "contribute to 
better understanding between peoples & cultures by 
presenting new achievements in int'l doc films & en- 
couraging young filmmakers around the world." En- 
tries must be Japanese premieres, produced after Oct. 1 , 
1 987 & over 60 min. Selected films must have Japanese 
subtitles: fest covers cost of new prints. Japanese ver- 
sions & transportation. Prizes: Grand Prize (Robert 
Flaherty Prize) ¥3.000.000. Mayor's Prize ¥1 ,000.000. 
3 runner-up prizes & 1 special prize. ¥300.000 each. No 
entry fee. Format: 35mm. 16mm: preselection on cas- 
sette. Deadline: Mar. 31. Contact: Mikiko Tomita. co- 
ordinator/Tokyo office, Yamagata International Docu- 
mentary Film Festival. 1-7-2-201. Shinjuku. Shinjuku- 
ku. Tokyo 160. Japan: tel: (03) 356-7401: telex: 
02322383 JNCIDF J; fax: (03) 356-7633. 



34 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1989 




THE ENVELOPE PLEASE... 
THE 1988 INDIE AWARDS 




The 1988 Indie Awards were hosted by 
the American Museum of the Moving 
Image, located in Queens, New York, 
and devoted to the history of motion 
pictures and television, which opened its 
doors in spring 1988. Welcoming AlVF's 
supporters was Rochelle Slovin, AMMI's 
executive director. 



Performance artist Michael Smith 

acted as the evening's emcee. 

Here he provides some comic 

relief boogying to a video of 

Donny and Marie Osmond — two 

artists, he says, who were major 

influences on his work. 



The Association of Independent Video and Film's Indie 
Awards ceremony took place on October 13, 1988, at 
the new American Museum of the Moving Image. A 
biennial event, this year's benefit program attracted 
over 200 supporters — a near capacity audience. The 
Indie Awards provide an occasion for AIVF to pay tribute 
to those individuals and organizations whose achieve- 
ments inspire and assist independent producers. 
Awardees are nominated by AIVF members and voted 
on by the board of directors. This year's categories 
included: Media Arts Center, Innovator, Curator (this 
went to Edith Kramer of Pacific Film Archives, who was 
not able to attend the ceremony), Lifetime Achieve- 
ment, Distributor, and Advocate, plus special awards 
from the AIVF Board of Directors and from Eastman 
Kodak. All photos by William Irwin. 




JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 35 





Toni Treadway contemplates the Eastman Kodak Award for 
Excellence, which she and Bob Brodsky were awarded for their 
work with the smaller film formats and the range of filmmakers 
who work with super 8 and regular 8mm. 



Film director Spike Lee. who presented the award for Curator, 
shares a joke with AIVF executive director Larry Sapadin and 
Micki Segel. 





Documentary producer Robert Richter. recently re-elected 
president of the AIVF board of directors, chats with fellow docu- 
mentarian and board vice president Loni Ding. 



The Life Achievement Award went to William Miles. Best known for 
his four-hour documentary series on Harlem's 350-year history, / 
Remember Harlem, Miles has produced numerous award-winning 
historical documentaries. 

















'^Rfl 1 


ill 


J^r \ I ■ 




The Experimental Television Center in Owego, New York, netted 
the Indie Award for Innovation, which was accepted by its 
director, Ralph Hocking. ETC has designed numerous image 
processing tools to meet the special needs of video artists, and 
developed an artists' residency program to make them widely 
available. 

36 THE INDEPENDENT 



Jaynne Keyes, Commissioner of the New York State Governor's 
Office for Motion Picture and Television Development, smiles with 
film and stage actor Tony LoBianco. As an awards presenter, 
LoBianco made an impromptu and eloquent statement about 
the social and political value of independent production after 
watching some of the evening's clips. 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1989 








Susan Seidelman, who presented the Media Arts Center Award, 
and friend browse through the Indie Awards program in AMMI's 
200-seat auditorium, one of the museum's two screening facilities. 



Fran Spielman, who helped form the First Run Features collective 
enterprise back in 1980, accepts the award for Distributor for her 
many years of work dedicated to the distribution of independent 
film. 





The award for Advocate went to George Stoney, a veteran 
producer who has spent much his life teaching community 
members and students how to use film and video as tools to 
communicate and organize. 



During the awards reception, Jaynne Keyes poses with (left to 
right): Ira Goodman, president, Precision Film & Video; Edward J. 
Burns, regional sales manager of Motion Picture and Audiovisual 
Markets, who presented Eastman Kodak's special Award for 
Excellence; James Hannafin, vice president and general man- 
ager of Technicolor; Dan Sandberg, president of TVC Laborato- 
ries; and Bernard Bamett, executive vice president of Precision. 





Video artist and AIVF board member Skip Blumberg toasts Dee 
Davis, a long-time veteran of Appalshop, which won the Media 
Arts Center Award. For the past 19 years, Appalshop has pro- 
duced films and videotapes that are by and about the people, 
music, and culture of Appalachia. 



The AIVF Board of Directors Award is reserved for someone who 
combines leadership and support for the independent commu- 
nity with integrity and achievement in the mainstream industry. 
This year the award went to Joan Micklin Silver, whose most 
recent feature is Crossing Delancey. 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 37 



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umn includes all listings for "Buy • 
Rent • Sell." "Freelancers" & "Post- 
production" categories. It is restricted 
to memPers only Each entry has a 
250 character limit & costs $20 per 
issue. Ads exceeding this length will 
Pe edited. Payment must be made 
at the time of submission. Anyone 
wishing to run a classified ad more 
than once must pay for each inser- 
tion & indicate the number of inser- 
tions on the submitted copy. Each 
classified ad must be typed, 
double-spaced & worded exactly 
as it should appear. 

Deadlines for Classifieds will be 
respected. These are the 8th of each 
month , two months prior to the cover 
date, e.g., January 8 for the March 
issue. Make check or money order — 
no cash, please — payable to FIVF, 
625 Broadway, 9th floor, New York, 
NY 10012. 



Buy • Rent • Sell 



Video Films Wanted Cash and/or credits for short 
videos up to 4 min. for new video medium (closed 
circuit TV broadcast). All categories needed. Suitable 
for general audience. Contact Sabrina ( 20 1 ) 262-2624: 
1 Kinderkamack Rd.. Oradell. NJ 07649. 

Arriflex S/B w/ APEC con. & var. spd. motors. Cine 
60 batt.. Ang. 12-120. Ang. 5.9. Schn. 10. 25. 50. 
Tiffen. case. Zeiss Mo\ iscope. Ediquip amp. Moviola, 
sync block & rewinds. Bolex spier. Eiki proj. w/ rec. 
Asking S4.100. pkg or sep. Jem (203) 359-8992. 

For Sale Mov iola M-77. 6-plate flatbed editor; indi- 
vidual torque motor controls: table extension with 
rewind plate; 24 & 30 fps. Good condition. S5200. 
Sinnott & Associates (312) 440-1875. 

Available for Rent: Shooting stages (60 x 40. 50 x 
25 1. 2 computerized motion control systems w ith 35mm 
camera, computer control led Oxberry animation stand, 
lighting & grip eqpt.. production office space. (212) 

254-5400. FAX: 529-5506. 

Nagra SN. crystal sync, nagra static microphone. 
shotgun microphone. S.M.R.. cables, external resolver. 
Excellent condition. SI. 250. (212) 873-4470. 

For Sale Arriflex 35-2C Camera. 3-400' magazines, 
variable speed motor. 16 volt battery belt. Excellent 
Condition! A Must See Item! Ralph (718) 284-0223. 

New & Used camera & lenses list. Convert surplus 
gear into cash via insured consignment sale. Call for s 
8. 16mm. 35mm. video prices. Crosscountry Film- 
Video, int'l brokers for serious sellers & buyers. 927 
Hudson St.. #5. Hoboken. NJ 07030: (201 ) 963-6450. 

SEG: Crsspt Ltch 6119. S2150. TBC: FA-200. S3I00. 
Camera: Pana 6000S1. bans. & chrgrs. S2250. Edit 
syst 2 Pana AG-6500. Cntrlr AG-650. S6400. Port 
VCR: Pana VHS AG-2400. adptr ftbatts. S745. Moni- 
tors: 2 NEC 13" CI3-304A. S515. (718) 956-9098. 



For Sale Computer: Amiga 1000. 5I2K + 1080 Moni- 
tor + 1300 Genlock + 1010 3.5" External Disk Drive + 
Alegra External Memory . S 1 2K. $ 1 750. Low hours. As 
priced or best offer. Call (718) 956-9098. 

For Sale or Rent 9.5 to 57 lens $2500. 10 to 150 Ang. 
$3000. Moviola editing table $8,000. 6 racks of Amega 
dubbers with Altec equalizer. Siemens Projector S450 
double system. Nagra 4L S3.750. Nagra 3 $1,400. Call 
Amy (212)620-0084. 

Wanted: "Fearless Frank" on film. VHS or Beta; video 
art/animated/strange/experimental Short Subjects on film 
or video, or such compilations Frank Merrill. Box 669. 
Macomb. IL 61455. Also. I have large 45 record sale 
catalog — themes. R&R, etc. 

Complete Film Prod Equipment: Eclair ACL, (2) 200' 
mags, multi-speed motor, tripod, fluid head. Angenieux 
zoom. 25mm lenses. 1 0mm switar. Nagra 4 w/ crystal 
sync, 4-plate Moviola, rew inds. viewers. Eiki projector, 
etc. Mark (914) 762-0219. 

Freelancers 

Grant Writing Help Masterful word processing and 
editing. I clarify your ideas and beautify your presenta- 
tion. S20-S35/hr. Experienced. References available. 
Call Tell It (2 12) 674-0374. 

Award-Winning Chicano Writer has 1 bilingual 
screenplay. 1 adaptable Vietnam drama. Anxious to 
collaborate/edit for Chicano projects, especially Tejano- 
oriented. Alfonso Pena-Ramos. 1045 N. 1 1th St.. Read- 
ing. PA 19604: (215) 374-9357. 

Cameraman with own equipment available. 16 SR. 35 
BL. superspeed lenses, sound equipment, lighting van, 
passport, certified scuba diver, speak French, a little 
Spanish. Call (212) 929-7728. 

Sound Man: Antonio Arroyo. Nagra. Sennheisers. 
Micron radio equipment. Feature & documentary cred- 
its. Bilingual & passport. For booking, call Amy at CEM 
crews (212) 620-0084. 

Betacam SP with complete remote package (including 
transportation) available for your independent produc- 
tion. Stereo sound, low light broadcast quality. Call Hal 
(201)662-7526. 

3/4" Video Production. 3-tube Sony cameras, tripods. 
lights, audio, van. experienced cameraman. Very rea- 
sonable rates. Smart Video (212) 877-5545. 

3 Chips on the Shoulder Multi-award winning cine/ 
videographer available for interesting projects. 700+ 3 
CCD Sony DXC M7 package. S-VHS. Mil, Beta SP. 
lights, station wagon, the works. Supreme Videos. Tony 
(212)753-1050. 

Director of Photography available for dramatic films. 
16 or 35mm productions of any length. Call to see my 
reel. John (201) 783-7360. 

Composer: A ward-w inning composer avail, for film and 
video projects. Credits include The Great San Francisco 
Earthquake for PBS {The American Experience). Demo 
available on request. David Koblitz (212) 988-2961. 

Video Production: 1/2". 3/4" and 1 " masters — studio or 
location. Equipment rentals. Film to tape transfers. 1/2" 
and 3/4" dubs. Call Videoplex at (212) 807-821 1. 



38 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1989 






gH* 



IE 



■ 



m m m 

MM IS 




THE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO 
AND FILMMAKERS MEANS: 

• Comprehensive health, disability, life, and equipment insurance at affordable rates 

• Festival Bureau: your inside track to over 400 international and domestic film and video festivals 

• Advocacy in government, industry, and public forums to increase support for independent production 

• Seminars on business, technical, and aesthetic issues 

• Discounts on professional services, including car rental, film labs, post-production facilities & equipment rental 
AND 

• A subscription to THE INDEPENDENT Film and Video Monthly, the only national film and video magazine 
tailored to your needs (10 issues per year) 




diversified catalogue 

of information for 

all your film 

and video 

needs. 



wealth of information is now available 
to you through AIVF by mail or in 
person. Our book/tape list covers practically every facet of the field. 
Subjects covered are production, fundraising, legal, screenwriting, 
technical, super 8, lighting, audio, public tv, cable, video, copyright, dis- 
tribution, political and more. 



Complete the other side of this card and 
mail to AIVF to receive a complete list of 
books and tapes available or call us at 
212-473-3400. 



\ — 



V 






•7 s*V v 



-/I 






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Help Yourself. 



j 



oin AIVF Today and Get a One- Year Subscription to 
THE INDEPENDENT Magazine. 

Enclosed is my check or money order for: 

$45/year individual (in US & Puerto Rico) 
(Add $12 for first class mailing) 

I I $25/year student (encl: proof of student ID) 

$60/year library (subscription only) 

I I $85/year organization 

I I $60/year foreign (outside US, Canada & 

Mexico), surface rate 
I I ( Add $15 for foreign air # mail) # 



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OR: Send check or money order to: AIVF, 625 Broadway, 
9th floor, New York, NY 10012; or call (212) 473-3400. 








lease send me the latest copy 
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«X 



Distribution Consultant: 9 years experience in dis- 
tribution. Experienced contract negotiator. Representa- 
tion to distributors based in Los Angeles. Ruth J. 
Feldman; (213) 394-2984. 

Award Winning Videographer w/ Sony DXC 3000. 
3 chip camera, Sennheiser sound, complete broadcast 
package. Experienced w/ news gathering, documenta- 
ries, dance, industrials & editing. Call John for rates: 
Ego Video (212) 260-6436. 

3/4" & S-VHS well maintained equipment with opera- 
tor. Low per diem rates. Cal Kingsley Allison (212) 
519-6304. 

Attn Minority Filmmakers: Having script and/or 
story problems? See US — KZP Productions: a black 
screenwriting/script doctoring company geared spe- 
cifically for low-budget movie-making. Experienced! 
Credentials! Cheap rates! Call us! (718) 636-4617. 

Using a Camcorder creatively? Let us include you in 
spring issue of video mag. ASAP write for question- 
naire: David Shepherd (prod, of camcorder game) & 
Donna McCrohan (media journalist). Box 70, #2, Wash- 
ington Sq. Vill., NYC 10012. Please— no tape, yet. 

Media Consultant will help you plan a fundraising 
strategy. Experienced, successful fundraiser offers IBM- 
PC, professional, creative presentations, for your next 
grant proposal. Low rates. Call (212) 749-4394. 

Looking for Help? Are the odds against you? Give me 
a call on your next film or video production. I have the 
equipment and the experience to get the job done! Call 
Ralph at (718) 284-0223. 

Are You Curious to See what your 16mm film might 
look like blown up to 35mm? Let me transfer those 
16mm frames of film to 35mm still photos! I can also 
transfer 35mm slides to 16mm film. Call Ralph at (7 18) 
284-0223. 

Director of Photograpy w/ feature film/commercial/ 
industrial experience. Self-owned 35mm. 16mm cam- 
era systems, lights, electrical, sync sound recording/ 
playback system. Lowest rates in Tri-State area! Call 
(201)798-8467. 

Documentary Editor with own 3/4" equipment. US 
and European TV credits. English and Spanish speak- 
ing. Good with narration and voice over. Call Martin 
Lucas (718) 625-0031. 

Editor, off-line. Docs & various independent projects 
of cultural/social relevance. Other services: research, 
production development, coordination. Reasonable 
rates. Faith Day (212) 475-7177. 

Whatever Youre Looking For. I can find. Call or 
write for brochure. Design Research, Box 1503, Ban- 
gor, ME, 04401; (207) 941-0838. 

Scripts Wanted: Open call by filmmaker representing 
N. California producers. Looking for horror genre scripts 
for 35mm feature. Script should be 90 pages. Include 
SASE for script return. Send to: Matthew Pergerson 
Films. 6333 Pacific Ave., #209. Stockton. CA 95207. 



Postproduction 



Bob Brodsky & Toni Treadway: Super 8 & 8mm 
film-to-video mastering with scene-by-scene color 
correction to 1 ", Betacam & 3/4". By appointment only. 
Call (617) 666-3372. 

Negative Matching: 16mm, super 16. 35mm. Credits 
include Jim Jarmusch, Wim Wenders, Lizzie Borden & 



Bruce Weber. Reliable results at reasonable rates. One 
White Glove, Tim Brennan, 32 1 W. 44th St., #4 1 1 , New 
York, NY 10036: (212) 265-0787. 

3/4" & 3/4" SP Broadcast Quality Editing w/ A/B 
roll. $95/hr including operator. Free special FX for 
AIVF members, incl. slo-mo, freezes, four-quad, graph- 
ics. Call HDTV Enterprises. Inc., near Lincoln Center 
(212)874-4524. 

16mm Flatbeds for Rent: 6-plate flatbeds for rent in 
your workspace or fully equipped downtown editing 
room w/ 24-hour access. Cheapest rates in NYC for 
independent filmmakers. Call Philmaster Productions 
(212) 873-4470. 

Broadcast Quality Video Editing: 3/4" Sony BVU- 
800s BVE 3000 Editor TBCs, switcher, slo-mo, freeze 
frames, chyron graphics. W/ editor. 900' sq. studio w/ 



lighting/sound/camera. $50/hr commercial. $35/hr 
indies. Downtown Brooklyn. A&S (718) 802-7750. 

Video 8 Editing: color correction, slo-mo. still. PCM 
digital sound mix/dub/rec. Transfer. Duplication. Pro- 
duction, too. Sony Pro. Reasonable. East Village. Info: 
Franck Goldberg (212) 677-1679. 

Negative Matching: Quality and exp.neg cutter for 16 
& 35mm. For Sale: 35 & 16mm film splicers (excell. 
use for neg matchers): (3) 28 x 60 editing tables. Prod, 
office avail for rent, long/short-term, midtown. Lou 
Somerstein (212) 581-3728. after 6, 532-1924. 

Make Postprod a Vacation: Edit in Vermont. New 
editing suites in 3/4" and VHS (Sony 5800-5850 w/ 
RM450/JVC 6400-8600 off-line w/ FX). Next to major 
ski areas. Find out how relaxing, creative, convenient 
and economical we can be. David (802) 773-0510. 



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(212)475-7884 

814 BROADWAY 
NEW YORK, NY 10003 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 39 




NOTICES 



Notices are listed tree of charge. Al VF 
members receive first priority; others 
are included as space permits The 
Independent reserves the right to edit 
for length. 

Deadlines for Notices will be re- 
spected These are the 8th of the 
month, two months prior to cover 
date, e.g., January 8 for the March 
issue. Send to: Independent Notices. 
FIVF, 625 Broadway, New York. NY 
10012. 



Conferences • Workshops 

Boston Film Video Foindation workshops begin- 
ning Jan.: Basic Video. Jan. 3-7. S215: Time Code 
Editing. Jan. 7 & 8. S 1 60: Prod. Techniques for Corpo- 
rate Video. Jan. 14.S45: Producing & Directing for TV. 
Jan. 7-28. SI 60. All workshops held at BF/VF: mem- 
bers discount: 10 r f. Contact: BF/VF. 1126 Boylston 
St.. Boston. MA 02215; (617) 536-1540. 

Intensive Documentary Seminar will be offered by 
Film Arts Foundation in association w/ Sundance Insti- 
tute's U.S. Film Festival in Park City. Utah. Jan. 19-29. 
Participants will screen all doc films in competition at 
festival & have daily intensive seminars w/ mam par- 
ticipating filmmakers. Seminars, conducted b> Ben 
Shedd & Mitch Block, will focus on fundraising. prod., 
marketing & distribution. Two academic units avail, 
from Boston's Emerson College. Seminar fee: S500. w/ 
additional fee if course credit taken. FAF members 
recei\e S25 discount. Contact: FAF Documentary 
Seminar. Anja Hanson, c/o DCL Box 69799, Los 
Angeles. CA 90069: (213) 652-8000. 

International Experimental Film Congress: call for 
papers for Critic's Sidebar, no longer than 20 min. 
Congress, to be held in Toronto, will be week-long 
event of screenings, lectures, workshops & panels 
devoted to avant-garde cinema. Send short synopsis by 
Jan. 1 to Jim Shedden. Coordinator. Int'l Experimental 
Film Congress. 2 Sussex Ave.. Toronto. ON M5S 1J5. 
Canada: (416) 978-7790/588-8940. 

Media Training at Film/Video Arts: Prof, instruction 
in all areas of film & video prod, on beginning & 
intermediate levels, incl. 16mm film prod.. 16mm film 
editing, video prod., video editing, screenwriting. di- 
recting, fundraising. prod, mgmt & intro to digital 
effects. Scholarships avail, for Blacks. Latinos. Asians 
& Native Amers residing in NYS. Contact: Media 
Training. F/VA. 817 Broadway. New York. NY 10003: 
(212)673-9361. 

Downtown Community TV Center free video work- 
shops offered on 3 consecutive TTiurs. eves.: editing 
workshops offered on 4 consecutive Mon. eves. Fee: 
$60. Contact: DCTV. 87 Lafayette St.. New York. NY 
10013: (212)966-4510. 



Films • Tapes Wanted 

N.A.M.E. Gallery is seeking proposals for video in- 
stallations using only consumer-grade technology to 
be exhibited in gallery space. Send all materials w/ 



SASE. Deadline: Jan. 15. Contact: N.A.M.E. Gallery. 
Attn. Video Comm.. 700 N. Carpenter St.. Chicago. IL 
60622: (312) 276-6677. 

Film Crash Submit sour new films for regular screen- 
ings in Manhattan. Contact Matthew Harrison, (212) 
285-4476; Karl Nussbaum. (718) 636-5496: or Scott 
Saunders. (718)643-6085. 

Si bmit Short Funny Tapes for Cinemax Variety 
Special. Up to 4 min. long. Send 1/2" or 3/4" cassette 
w ith SASE to: Mike's Talent Show . 1 2 Spring St.. New- 
York. NY 10012. 

The Lesbian and Gay Video Series at Downtown 
Community TV Ctr is seeking videos for exhibition in 
March. Submissions deadline: Feb. 1. Send tapes to: 
Maria Beatty. DCTV. 87 Lafayette St.. New York. NY 
10013: (212)966-4510. 

Umbrella Films Distributor of films & tapes on 
environment & public policy seeks new titles. Contact: 
Umbrella Films. 60 Blake Rd.. Brookline. MA 02146: 
(617) 277-6639. 

Educational Distributor seeks independent videos 
& films for educ. market, incl. health & youth issues. 
Contact Heather Nancarrow. Select Media. 74 Varick 
St.. Ste. 305. New York. NY 10013; (212) 431-8923. 

Wanted: Missing Programs: Museum of Broadcast- 
ing contains one of the world's largest collections of TV 
show s. but seeks many missing early greats, e.g.. Jackie 
Gleason's Calvacade of Stars, the premiere of The 
Tonight Show, TV coverage of the 1948 election, news 
from 1946-55. etc. If you know the whereabouts of any 
of the above shows or would like a complete list of 
missing shows, contact: Museum of Broadcasting. 1 E. 
53rd St.. New York. NY 10022; (212) 752-1690. 

Red Bass is soliciting 3/4" or 1/2" tapes. 3-10 min. in 
length, of new. experimental & alternative video for an 
Alternate 71 VHS cassette issue w/ catalog. Artists 
living in southeastern US are encouraged to submit 
w ork. esp. tapes critiquing mass media, even day life & 
other socio-political issues. Project cosponsored by 
Contemporary Arts Ctr. of New Orleans & w ill result in 
exhibit when CAC reopens. Deadline: Jan. 15. Send 
submissions w/SASE to: Red Bass. 2425 Burgundy St.. 
New Orleans. LA 701 17; (504) 949-5256. 

Opportunities • Gigs 

Programmer: At Collective for Living Cinema, to 
begin Mar. 1 . Collective screens films & videos 7 days/ 
w k. 52 wks/yr. Applicant must have 2-5 yrs. experience 
in film/video programming. EOE. Deadline: Jan. 22. 
Apply in writing (no phone calls) by sending cover 
letter, resume. 1 month's program & 3 letters of refer- 
ence to: Search Committee, Collective for Living Cin- 
ema. 41 White St.. New York. NY 10013. 

Channel L Working Group seeks student interns & 
volunteers to assist in prod, of cable TV programming 
for spring season. Jan. -May. Intensive training pro- 
vided to all intern/volunteers in location camerawork, 
lighting, audio & portable video recorders. Positions 
for weekly, live call-in municipal talk shows, incl. 
producers, directors & asst. directors to be filled. Prod, 
experience also offered on special projects, e.g. docs, 
public service announcements & training tapes. No 



previous prod, experience required. Must be avail, at 
least 15 hrs/wk, primarily during days. Contact: Intern 
Supervisor. Channel L Working Group. 51 Chambers 
St.. Rm. 532. New York, NY 10007; (212) 964-2960. 

Columbia College Dept. of Film & Video. Chicago, 
seeks film & video professionals who know how to 
construct a story & who may have spent pan of their 
careers writing screenplays. Looking for ability to teach 
prod., incl. Bolex. lighting, editing, etc. & sensitivity to 
conceptual aspects of filmmaking. Full & pan-time 
positions. Send resumes to: Anthony Loeb, Chair. Dept. 
of Film & Video. Columbia College. 600 S. Michigan, 
Chicago. IL 60605. 

Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester. 
NY seeks video/film professional for tenure trk. asst. 
prof, position in B.S. program in film/video. Pnmary 
responsibility: teach independent video prod, w/ em- 
phasis on doc. style. Requirements: Masters prefened, 
teaching plus professional independent doc. experience 
& competency in time-code editing. Women & minori- 
ties encouraged. Appl. deadline: Jan. 9. Mail resume to: 
Charles Werberig, Search Committee. SPAS. Box 9887, 
Rochester Institute of Technology. 1 Lomb Memorial 
Dr.. Rochester. NY 14623. 

SUNY/Purchase seeks prof, or assoc. prof, of film 
directing, tenure trk position. Professional feature di- 
recting experience required, teaching exp. prefened. 
Responsible for teaching intermediate directing courses 
& supervising senior thesis projects, as well as provide 
leadership to fiction film program w/in film dept. Sal- 
ary competitive. Submit resume & cover letter to: Peter 
Brown. Affirmative Action Officer. SUNY/Purchase, 
735 Anderson Hill Rd.. Purchase. NY 10577-1400. 

Cal State Sacramento: Dept. of Communications 
Studies seeks candidates for media prod, positions to 
teach audio prod., audio & visual communications, 
media theory & application. Recent prof, experience 
highly desirable: demonstrated ability to produce high 
quality prof, programs necessary'. Tenure track position 
at asst. or assoc. prof, level: salary' S27.588-36.488. 
Ph.D. or M.F.A. prefened. Appl. deadline: Jan. 4. 
Contact: Gene Knepprath. Dept. of Communication 
Studies. California State Univ.. Sacramento. 6000 J St., 
Sacramento, C A 95819. 

Publications • Software 

Intermedia Arts: New educ. an & advocacy video 
catalog avail. Incls docs on an. social issues. Native 
Amer. topics & contemporary an videos. Contact: 
Intermedia Ans. 425 Ontario St.. SE. Minneapolis. MN 
55414; (612) 627-4444. 

New Non theatrical Film & Video catalog of work by 
independent producers avail, from Nat'l Educ. Film & 
Video Festival. Resource on newly-released, nontheatri- 
cal films/videos in over 75 subject areas. Price, summa- 
ries & distributor index for over 900 prods. S10. Con- 
tact: Nat'l Educational Film & Video Festival, 314 E. 
10th St.. Oakland. CA 94606; (415) 465-6885. 

Whitney Museum of American Art program notes 
for current exhibitions in the 1988-89 New American 
Film & Video Series avail, free from the Film & Video 
Dept. Contact: Whitney Museum. 945 Madison Ave.. 
New York, NY 10021. 



40 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1989 



Independent America: New Film 1978-88 catalog of 
essays and program notes from retrospective organized 
by David Schwartz at American Museum of the Mov- 
ing Image. Incls essays by Schwartz, Jonathan Rosen- 
baum, Steve Anker & Berenice Reynaud. $5. Contact 
AMMI, 35th Ave. at 36th St., Astoria, NY 1 1 106; (718) 
784-0077. 

Moving Pictures Bulletin: Quarterly published by 
Television Trust for the Environment to promote info 
on environmental & development issues through TV & 
radio, w/ special emphasis on developing countries. 
Current issue on atmospheric change & implications 
incls reviews of films & tapes on these issues, booklist, 
news of forthcoming conferences & features. Contact: 
Panos Institute, 1409 King St., Alexandria, VA 22314; 
(713)836-1302. 

Foundation Centers new publications incl. 6th edi- 
tion of Foundation Grams to Individuals, $24 & 17th 
edition of The Foundation Grants Index, $55. Add $2 
shipping & handling. Contact: Foundation Center, 79 
Fifth Ave., Dept. LX, New York, NY 10003; (800) 424- 
9836. 

Resources • Funds 

Oakland Museum announces artist-in-residence pro- 
gram to bring artists into the museum to create innova- 
tive works. Selected video artist will receive $6,000 
honorarium & will be expected to complete a project or 
projects during 6-mo. period, incl. the creation of 30- 
min. video on museum. Contact: Barbara Levine, Art 
Dept.; (415) 273-3005. 

Film/Video Arts seeks appls from NYS media artists 
for 6-day residencies in Video Synthesis Studio from 
March-June. Should have previous experience w/image- 
processing. Submit 1-pg project proposal, resume, 
sample of previously completed project & sample from 
proposed project w/ preferred dates for residency & 
alternatives, summarize prior exp. w/ image-process- 
ing & description of plans to use image-processing in 
the piece. Deadline: Jan. 30. Contact: Image Processing 
Residencies, F/V A, 8 1 7 Broadway, 2/F, New York, NY 
10003-4797. 

Harvestworks: 1989 Artist-in-Residence Program 
offers studio time to complete new work for public 
presentation or to learn & experiment w/ MIDI com- 
puter music system. Emerging artists & artists in audio, 
film, dance, video, radio, music, theater & performance 
art encouraged to apply. Deadline: Jan. 6. Contact: 
Debbie McBride. Harvestworks, AIR Program, 596 
Broadway, #602, New York, NY 10012; (212) 431- 
1130. 

Southeast Media Fellowships awarded to indepen- 
dent film & videomakers living in AL, FL, GA, KY. 
LA, MS, NC, SC, TN & VA for prod, grants for new 
works or works-in-progress for equip, access grants. 
Deadline: Feb. 1. Panel will meet in March. Contact: 
SEMFP, c/o Appalshop, Box 743, Whitesburg, KY 
41858; (606)633-0108. 

PIFVA Subsidy Program: Facilitates completion of 
independent, noncommercial films, video & audio prods 
by Philadelphia Independent Film & Video Assn 
members. Funded by Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. 
Grants average $500-1,000. Next deadline: Feb. 1. 
Contact: PIFVA, Int'l House, 3701 Chestnut St., Phila- 
delphia, PA 19104; (215) 895-6542. 

Massachusetts Council on Arts & Humanities 
Contemporary Arts funding program deadline, Feb. 6: 



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THE INDEPENDENT 41 



An Exchange, provides funds for non-MA reskfenl 
artists to present completed works in MA A MA artists 
to present completed works outside MA. New Works. 
tunds for cre ati on of new works tor MA premiere. Open 
to artists in all disciplines. Proposals must be sponsored 
b) MA cultural institutions. Contact: Contemporary 
Arts staff: |6I7> 727-3668. 

Sot in C^rouna Akis COMMISSION Artist Projects 
deadline: Jan. 1? Contact: SCAC. 1800 Genais St . 
Columbia. SC 29201. 

REAL Aki WAYS Media Access Studio: multi-track 
recording studio &. 3/4" video shooting & editing facil- 
ity for creation, completion or documentation of work. 
Call for rates to independents. Also. Fusion/Fission 
Regrants: Funds avail, for innovative interdisciplinary 
work by New England artists. Deadline: Jan. 1989. 
Contact: Real An Wavs. 94 Allvn St.. Hartford. CT 
06103-1402; (203) 525-5521. 

Apparatus Productions seeks unique. 16mm film 
projects requiring funds for prod, or postprod. We 
provide suppon& limited funding on short, experimen- 
tal narrative projects. Deadline: Apr. 1. For appl.. send 
SASE to Apparatus Prods. 225 Lafavette St.. Rm. 507. 
New York. NY 10012. 

American Women in Radio & TV 14th Annual AWRT 
Nat'l Commendation Awards to be presented to pro- 
grams, ads. news & features that contribute to the 
following criteria: advancement of women by enhanc- 
ing their image, position &/or welfare, portray women 
in a positive & realistic manner, present a new or 
different perspective on the human condition w/ par- 
ticular reference to women, address an area of interest 



& concern to women, or have an impact on issues 
related to women. Send radio entries on audiocassette 
& TV entries on 3/4" videocassette w/ $75 entry fee & 
(50 fee for students. Must have been aired Jan. 1-Dec. 
31. 1988. Deadline: Jan. 31 postmark. Contact Amer. 
Women in Radio & TV, Nat'l Commendation Awards. 
1101 Connecticut Ave.. NW. Ste. 700. Washington. 
DC 20036: (202) 429-5102. 

Frontline: Hr-long weekly public affairs series broad- 
cast nationally on PBS will consider proposals on 
public policy issues from doc. producers whose prior 
work has demonstrated ability to combine good jour- 
nalism & filmmaking. Submit 1-2 pg treatment or 
roughcut of completed (or near completed) film on 3/4" 
or VHS. Deadline: Feb. 1 for 1990 season. Contact: 
Marrie Campbell, series editor. Frontline. 1 25 Western 
Ave., Boston. MA 02134. 

Ft lbright Program w/ United Kingdom: Council for 
Int'l Exchange of Scholars announces opening of 
competition for professional fellowships in filmmaking 
& film & TV prod. 1 award will be avail, in film & TV 
prod, each yr. for the next 3 yrs. Appl. deadline: Feb. 1 . 
Contact: Steven Blodgett. CIES. 1 1 Dupont Circle. 
NW, Ste. 300. Washington. DC 20036: (202) 939- 
5410. 

Astrea Foundation: Funds for women's orgs in PA, 
NY. NJ. RI. DC. MD. MA. DE & CT. Will consider 
media projects designed to serve as educ. & organizing 
tools to promote progressive social change. Grants 
from $500-5.000. Deadline: May 3 1 . Appl. from Astrea 
Foundation. 666 Broadway. Ste. 610. New York. NY 
10012: (212) 529-8021. 



Corporation for Public Broadcasting: Open Solici- 
tation deadlines: Jan. 6 & Apr. 21. Contact: Television 
Program Fund, CPB. 1111 16th St.. NW, Washington, 
DC 20036. 

National Endowment for the Arts grant deadline: 
Jan. 30 for AFI/NEA film preservation program. Con- 
tact: Media Arts. NEA, 1 100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, 
Washington. DC 20506. 

Film Bureau of Film/Video Arts offers grants to NY 
State exhibition programs sponsored by nonprofit or- 
ganizations. Matching funds up to S300 avail, for film 
rentals & up to $200 per speaking engagement for 
presentations by filmmakers, producers, directors, tech- 
nicians & scholars. Deadline: Jan. 15. Contact: Charles 
Vassallo. Film Bureau Coordinator. F/VA, 817 Broad- 
way, New York, NY 10003-4797; (212) 673-9361. 

Checkerboard Foundation invites appls for 1988-89 
postproduction awards. 2-4 grants, from $5,000 to 
$10,000. awarded in Spring '89. Only NYS residents 
may apply. Deadline: Mar. 3 1 . For appls, write: Check- 
erboard Foundation. Box 222. Ansonia Sta.. New York. 
NY 10023. 

Film News Nows Foundation offers fiscal sponsor- 
ship to independent minority and women film- and 
videomakers. For sponsorship to NYSCA (deadline 
March 1 ), send synopsis by Feb. 1 to: Film News Now . 
335 W. 38th St., 5th fl., New York, NY 10018; (212) 
971-6061. 

INPUT Training Grants: Independents who produce 
programs for public TV eligible for grants covering 
airfare to Stockholm for May 2 1 -27 INPUT '89 confer- 
ence, w/ special consideration for those who can match 



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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1989 



funds for airfare costs. To apply, send cover sheet 
detailing appl. name, org., business & home address, 
phone nos., ethnic origin & amount of matching funds 
available; resume of appl's production role in public 
TV; letter of recommendation from TV administrator. 
Deadline: Jan. 20. Mail to: US INPUT Secretariat, 2627 
Millwood Ave., Columbia, SC 29205, attn. Sandie 
Pedlow; (803) 737-3434. 

Trims & Glitches 

Kudos to AIVF members awarded production grants 
from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Program 
Fund Open Solicitations: Irving Saraf & Allie Light, In 
the Shadow of the Stars: John Schott, Alive from Off 
Center, Steven Okazaki, Days ofWaiting; Hector Galan, 
Legacies; Marlon T. Riggs, Color Adjustment: Blacks 
in Primetime; Rose Economou & Hodding Carter, The 
Fading Fortunes of the Quiet Army, and Brian Kaufman 
& Daniel Poneman, Argentina: Land of Promise, Land 
of Pain. 

Congratulations to Bay Area independents awarded 
funds from the Film Arts Foundation Grants Program: 
Lynn Hershman, First Person Plural; Lynn Kirby, 
Heatlamp & Marlon Riggs, Tongues Untied. 

Curtis Choy has been selected to receive one of three 
1988 James D. Phelan Arts Awards in Filmmaking, 
with a cash prize of $2,500. Congrats! 

Congrats to AIVF recipients of the New York State 
Council on the Arts Media Production grants: Ann 
Volkes, Lee Grant: Definitions of an Independent 
Woman; Jaime Barrios, The New Crusaders; Angelo 
Jannuzzi, Song from Sing Sing; Ilan Ziv, Kitsch & 
Death; Alex Hahn, Dirt Site; David Blair, Wax Or, The 
Discovery of TV among the Bees; Melvin McCray, 
Dollie Robinson: The Woman & Her Times; Betsy 
Newman. The Spirit of the Dream. .; Linda Karpell, 
Handprints; Jill Godmilow, The Lear Tapes; Mary 
Lucier, Noah's Raven; Collis Davis, Elegha's Strate- 
gem; Shu Lea Cheang, Color Schemes; Daniel 
Riesenfeld, South Africa, The Propaganda War; Julie 
Zando, Three Case Histories; Amy Chen, McCarthy- 
ism in Chinatown & Tom Lopez, Saratoga Springs. 

Writers Guild East Foundation Video Documentary 
Fellowship winners are Jill Godmilow, Demetria Roy- 
als & Richard Wormser. Congratulations! 

AIVF Member Rosemary Ritvo & her partner Laverne 
Berry have received a National Endowment for the 
Humanities Production Grant for their drama Traitor in 
My House. Kudos! 

Nancy Littlefield, executive director of Queens Public 
Access TV, has been elected to the YWCA's Academy 
of Women Achievers. Congrats! 

Kudos to Marco Williams, who received a New York 
State Council on the Arts Film Production award and 
was named a 1988 Fellow in Media by the New York 
Foundation for the Arts. 

N.Y. Expo awards have gone to several AIVF mem- 
bers: Elvent Ataman (narrative); Jem Cohem, Amy 
Kravitz (experimental); Karen Goodman, Shari 
Robertson, Ginny Durrin (documentary); Robert Gates, 
Nina Hasin (doc essay). Congrats! 

Kudos to Christine Choy & Renee Tajima, whose film 
Who Killed Vincent Chin' earned the 1st Hawaii Int'l 
Film Festival documentary award. 




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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 43 



MEMORANDA 



SUMMARY OF THE MINUTES 

OF THE AIVF/FIVF BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING 



At its first meeting on October 15. 1988. the new 
AIVF Board of Directors elected officers. Regge 
Lite, who is beginning his second year on the 
board, was elected chair: Skip Blumberg, a new 
board member, was elected treasurer. Robert 
Richter. Lorn Ding and Wendy Lidell were re- 
elected to the positions of president, vice presi- 
dent, and secretary, respectively. The board also 
reestablished its standing committees: Member- 
ship/Public Relations. Advocacy, and Fundrais- 
ing/Development. 

The board resolved to draft letters of concern to 
the New York State Council on the Arts about the 
proposed mergerof the Film and Media Programs 
and to the Rockefeller Foundation about a plan- 
ned feasibility study for the creation of a new 
home video distribution entity. 

Meeting on the heels of its 1988 Indie Awards 
program, the board reaffirmed its support for the 
aw ards event, but expressed an interest in explor- 
ing w ays to make the program appeal to a broader 
range of AIVF members. The board tabled the 
discussion, but resolved at its next meeting to 
create an ad hoc committee to review the program 



and make specific recommendations. The next 
Indie Aw ards program is expected to take place in 
1990. 

The next board meeting was scheduled for 
January 14. 1989. with committees meeting the 
evening before. Members are encouraged to at- 
tend board meetings and get involved in commit- 
tees. Confirm dates in advance. For more infor- 
mation, call AIVF at (212) 473-3400. 



AIVF THANKS 

The Emergency Legislative Fund, which is being 
used to advocate a National Independent Program 
Service for public television, recently received a 
contribution from Mark Mannucci. Thanks. 



FIVF THANKS 

The Foundation for Independent Video and Film 
(FIVF). the foundation affiliate of the Association 
of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF). 



supports a variety of programs and services for the 
independent producer community, including 
publication of The Independent, maintenance of 
the Festival Bureau, seminars and workshops, an 
information clearinghouse, and a grant making 
program. None of this work would be possible 
without the generous support of the following 
agencies, foundations and organizations: The 
New York State Council on the Arts, the National 
Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, the 
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, 
the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fund, the 
Beldon Fund, the Morgan Guaranty Trust Com- 
pany of New York, the Consolidated Edison 
Company of New York, the Benton Foundation, 
the Funding Exchange, and the dozens of organi- 
zations that advertise in The Independent. 

CORRECTION 

The "Program Notes" column in the November 
1988 issue of The Independent incorrectly cited 
the International Center for 8mm Film and Video 
as the publishers of Bob Brodsky and Toni Tread- 
way's Super 8 in the Video Age. In fact, Brodsky 
and Treadway self-published the book: they also 
self-distribute it. 



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44 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1989 



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sionately delivered. I couldn't have 
had a more enlightening experience." 
—MARK RYDELL. Director "On 
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didn't know but made what I do 
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— REN'EE TAYLOR, Screenwriter 
"Lovers and Other Strangers" 

"Remarkablv informative." 
—DAVID KEMPER. CBS Program 
Executive 



"Instead of formulas, McKee inspires 
a deep understanding that gives 
writers the creative freedom to find 
their own answers. ' ' 
—GLORIA STEINEM, Author 

"He makes the screenwriter's craft 
a proud profession." 
— LYNXE LITMAN, Director "Tes- 
tament," "Number Our Days" 

"McKee's course should be taken by 
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-MICHAEL HERTZBERG, Produ- 
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manuscripts. In Hollvwood, it is virtually the only reason." 
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Screenwriter, Novelist and Playwright." Published by Warner Books. 

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THE MARCH OF TIME 
HISTORY ON TELEVISION 



A PUBLICATION OF THE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO AND FILMMAKERS 




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CONTENTS 



18 FEATURES 

Clio Rides the Airwaves: History on Television 

by Kathleen Hulser 

2 MEDIA CLIPS 

Nuclear Free TV 

by Molly Delaney 

Pelicula de Inglaterra 

by Karen Rosenberg 

European Broadcasting: New Rules, Old Game 

by Patricia Thomson 

The Big Picture: Theatrical Releases for American Playhouse 
Sequels 

12 LEGAL BRIEFS 

Futures Trading: The Screenplay Option Agreement 

by Todd Alan Price and Paul Fadus 

15 BOOK REVIEW 

The Cinema of Apartheid: Race and Class in South African Film 

reviewed by Ntongela Masilela 

25 FESTIVALS 

Video Nouveau: The Montbeliard International Video and Television Festival 

by Amy Taubin 

UNICA: Five Decades of a Unique Festival 

by Joaquin "Kino" Garcia 

In Brief 

32 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Renee Tajima 

35 CLASSIFIEDS 

37 NOTICES 

40 MEMORANDA 



COVER: Navy Admirals cut the cake in celebration of the first atomic 
tests in 1946 at the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific. Radio Bikini, Robert 
Stone's documentary on these tests and the U.S. Government's 
propaganda about them, was featured on PBS' new history series 
The American Experience. In "Clio Rides the Airwaves," Kathleen 
Hulser examines how history is depicted in this series and asks 
whether public television has kept pace with the kinds of questions 
about visual representation that have been posed by today's social 
historians. Photo: Historic Pictures Service. 




MARCH 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 1 



FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



MEDIA CLIPS 



NUCLEAR FREE TV 




Greenpeace climbers 
rappeling below the 
Golden Gate Bridge and 
displaying "Nuclear Free 
Seas" banners in view of 
the Navy ships entering 
San Francisco Bay. 

Photo Mickey Freeman 



As three Greenpeace climbers hung by ropes from 
the Golden Gate Bridge in a dramatic demonstra- 
tion against nuclear weapons at sea on October 2 1 , 
some of the Bay Area's best film- and video- 
makers were there to capture the protest on vide- 
otape. 

Karen Topakian, Greenpeace's Regional Dis- 
armament Coordinator, said the protest action, 
which occurred at the end of the Navy's annual 
military celebration Fleet Week, was intended to 
alert people "to the dangerous naval nuclear 
weapons race that has not been receiving nearly 
enough attention." As the protest evolved, two 
volunteer camera crews using donated video 
equipment documented the action on the bridge 
and on the bay. A ground crew, using the world's 
longest zoom lens made for video field produc- 
tion, was perched above Fort Point, on the south- 
ern end of the bridge. This crew kept in radio 
contact with a second team, flying over the bay in 
a helicopter. A motel room on Lombard Street in 
San Francisco served as the editing area, where 
footage was cut together to send, via satellite 
uplink, to the Cable News Network and World- 
wide Television News Service for international 
airing. 

The protest began at 11:45 in the morning, 
when four Greenpeace climbers prepared to un- 
furl an 1 1 .000-square-foot flag beneath the bridge 
span that read, "Stop Nuclear Weapons At Sea." 
As they began their descent, however, the Califor- 
nia Highway Patrol arrested one of the climbers 
and confiscated the flag, which would have been 
visible as far away as the Berkeley Hills. The 
remaining three climbers managed to rappel 150 
feet below the span and display banners carrying 
the message, "Nuclear Free Seas," just as two 
Navy warships sailed underneath. 

Hanging far above the water, the climbers 



coped with bridge workers who dangerously 
handled their ropes in an attempt to get them off 
the bridge. After two hours, the protesters lowered 
themselves onto a Coast Guard boat where they 
were taken into custody. In addition to the climb- 
ers, 15 other participants in the demonstration 
were charged with trespassing and disturbing the 
peace but were later released on their own recog- 
nizance. 

David L. Brown, producer and codirector of 
the film/video production, said that the crew was 
"a remarkable group of highly skilled and politi- 
cally conscious film- and videomakers who wanted 
to assist Greenpeace in getting their action docu- 
mented and disseminated." Brow n and 1 1 camera 
crews successfully videotaped last year's Green- 
peace protest against Fleet Week. 

Halfway into this year's shoot the California 
Highway Patrol revoked the Fort Point crew's 
film permit and shut them down, just before the 
Navy ships entered the mouth of the bay. As 
Brown explained, "The CHP monitored our radio 
and determined that we were part of the protest. 
We had a permit under Energon Films, which also 
stated that we were stringers for CNN, which was 
true. But we did not have CNN credentials. On 
that basis they revoked our permit." 

Brown continued, "Merely because we were 
independents who may have been sympathetic to 
Greenpeace, the authorities shut us down and 
thereby denied us our First Amendment rights." 

Despite this setback, the crews shot some dra- 
matic footage and recorded a number of remark- 
able radio transmissions, some of which will be 
part of three separate Greenpeace documentaries. 
These recordings included communications be- 
tween the organizers of the Greenpeace action via 
walky-talkies, as well as discussions between the 
Highway Patrol, bridge personnel, and the Coast 



IWEPEWENr 



MARCH 1989 
VOLUME 12, NUMBER 2 



Publisher 

Editor 

Managing Editor 

Associate Editor 

Contributing Editors 



Editorial Staff: 

Production Staff: 
Art Director: 
Advertising: 

National Distributor: 



Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Patricia Thomson 
Renee Tajima 
Kathryn Bowser 
Bob Brodsky 
Karen Rosenberg 
Quynh Thai 
Toni Treadway 
Kelly Anderson 
Ray Navarro 
Jeanne Brei 
Christopher Holme 
Andy Moore 
(212) 473-3400 
Bernhard DeBoer 
113 E. Center St. 
Nutley, NJ07110 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published ten times 
yearly by the Foundation for Independent 
Video and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 
9th Floor, New York, NY 10012, (212-473- 
3400). a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educa- 
tional foundation dedicated to the promo- 
tion of video and film, and by the Associa- 
tion of Independent Video and Filmmakers, 
Inc. (AIVF), the national trade association 
of independent producers and individuals 
involved in independent video and film. 
Subscription is included with membership in 
AIVF. Together FIVF and AIVF pjpvide a 
broad range of educational and pro- 
fessional services for independents and the 
general public. Publication of The Indepen- 
dent is made possible in part with public 
funds from the New York State Council on 
the Arts and the National Endowment for 
the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be re- 
turned unless a stamped, self-addressed 
envelope is included. No responsibility is as- 
sumed for loss or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be 
addressed to the editor. Letters may be ed- 
ited for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foun- 
dation for Independent Video and Film, 
Inc., except where otherwise noted. 
Reprints require written permission and ac- 
knowledgement of the article's previous 
appearance in The Independent. ISSN 
0731-5198. The Independent is indexed in 
the Alternative Press Index. 

© Foundation for Independent Video and Film. Inc. 1989 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, ex- 
ecutive director; Ethan Young, membership/ pro- 
gramming director. Kathryn Bowser, festival bureau 
airector; Morton Marks, audio/business manager; 
Sol Horowitz, Short Film Showcase project adminis- 
trator; Kelly Anderson, administrative assistant. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Robert 
Aaronson, Adrianne Benton. Skip Blumberg 
(treasurer), Christine Choy. Loni Ding (vice- 
president), Lisa Frigand.* Dai Sil Kim-Gibson. Wendy 
Lidell (secretary), Regge Life (chair), Tom Luddy." 
Lourdes Portillo. Robert Richter (president). 
Lawrence Sapadin (ex officio). Steve Savage," 
Deborah Shaffer, John Taylor Williams." 

* FIVF Board of Directors only 



2 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1989 



FOR All 
YOUR FILM 
AND 

VIDEOTAPE 
NEEDS. 



Eastman 

Motion Picture Films 
Professional Video Tape 




EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY 

Motion Picture and Audiovisual Products Division 



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Chicago: 312/218-5174 
Dallas: 214/506-9700 



Hollywood: 213/464-6131 
Honolulu: 808/833-1661 
Montreal: 514/761-3481 



New York: 212/930-8000 
Rochester: 716/254-1300 
Toronto: 416/766-8233 " 



Vancouver: 604/987-8191 
Washington, DC: 703/558-9220 



©Eastman Kodak Company, 1988 




A camera crew in position to 
document the Greenpeace Golden 
Gate Bridge action on October 21. 
From left: Milt Wallace, Michael 
Bolner, Madeline Muir, Mickey 
Freeman, David Brown, and 
Lauretta Molitor. 

Photo Janet Delaney 



Guard while the action was in progress. Although 
the Worldwide Television News Sen ice did not 
use their tape ( KGO. a local TV station, provided 
them with theirs, which was then broadcast in 
dozens of countries i. CNN welcomed the footage 
and aired it six times within 12 hours. Local 
station K.RON too. used it to open their 1 1 o'clock 
newscast. Commenting on the video crew and the 
equipment donors. Greenpeace's Topakian said. 
"The Bay Area video crews and equipment do- 
nors have been invaluable in spreading the Green- 
peace message worldwide." 

This article is a version of a piece that appeared in the 
December 1988 issue of Film Tape World. 

MOLLY DELANEY 

Molly Delaney Is a freelance writer living in San 
Fram isco. 



PELICULA DE INGLATERRA 

About five \ears ago. a group of Latino film- 
makers in Great Britain formed the Latin Ameri- 
can Independent Film/Video Association 
(LAIFA i. Among them was Miguel Pereira. an 
Argentinian whose Veronica Cruz is now playing 
commercially in Great Britain. Now LAIFA has 
60 members, most of whom live in London, and 
thej are interested in establishing contact with 
Latino filmmakers in the U.S. "We can put to- 
gether packages of their films and distribute them 
to universities and festivals around Great Brit- 
ain." filmmaker Lula Couling-Barreneche. who 
serves as LAIFA's administrator, told me in 
London. 

LAIFA's upcoming touring series consist of 
subtitled films from the Peruvian and Brazilian 
embassies. But Couling-Barreneche is w illing to 



consider written information and PAL tapes from 
Latino filmmakers in the U.S. Filmmakers should 
let her know about their film's genre (fiction or 
documentary ). format ( 1 6mm, 35mm. or super 8 ), 
length, language (and whether it is subtitled ). and 
if it is in color or black and white. LAIFA is able 
to purchase PAL tapes for about S30 each. 

In addition to its distribution activity. LAIFA 
offers bilingual Spanish and English film and 
video courses. In 1989. it intends to sponsor a 
16mm production and postproduction course for 
women. The Greater London Council gave LAIFA 
its film and video equipment, which it also lends 
to members at a low rate. But after Thatcher's con- 
servative government abolished the Greater Lon- 
don Council, which it considered too left-wing, 
organizations like LAIFA have experienced fi- 
nancial difficulties and have had to devote an 
increasing amount of their energy to fundraising. 
LAIFA's equipment fee will have to go up. Coul- 
ing-Barreneche told me. because the present rate 
covers only maintenance costs. 

In late December. I stopped by Latin American 
House in North London, where LAIFA is located. 
This building is shared by 11 organizations, in- 
cluding the Colombian Committee for Human 
Rights, a Peruvian support group, and an advice 
service for women. Colombian filmmaker Marta 
Rodriguez w as using LAIFA equipment to screen 
a video of the 90-minute film. Love, Women and 
Flowers, which she shot over the last five years 
with her late husband Jorge Silva. Channel Four in 
Britain wants to air a 50-minute version of this 
documentary about Colombians who work in the 
flower industry. Chemical pesticides not permit- 
ted in the U.S. are used in Colombian green- 
houses, and this film focuses on the illnesses of 
Colombian w omen who w ork in a large company 
owned by a smug North American. It ends w ith 
their strike for better working conditions. Ro- 



driguez is interested in using LAIFA equipment to 
make a longer video version of the film. Besides 
equipment. LAIFA offers information about grants 
and production advice to Latino filmmakers in 
Britain. 

About three times per year. LAIFA organizes 
evening screenings of film, video, or slides in the 
80-seat cinema at the Latin American House. 
Visitors to London can check the weekly 
magazines Time Out or City Limits for screening 
dates or contact: LAIFA, Latin American House. 
Kingsgate Place. London NW6 4TA, U.K.; tel. 
01-372-6442. 

KAREN ROSENBERG 

Karen Rosenberg is a writer whose work has 
appeared in Sight and Sound, the Nation, the 
Boston Globe, and elsewhere. 



EUROPEAN 

BROADCASTING: NEW 
RULES, OLD GAME 

Europe is getting poised to enter a new era of 
broadcasting — the satellite age. Many viewers 
have had a taste of it. with such satellite channels 
as MTV-Europe and Rupert Murdoch's Sky 
Channel already beaming down music videos. 
U.S. series, and other subtitled fare. By the mid- 
1990s, dozens of trans-European channels will be 
available. To many European viewers, the future 
must look distinctly North American. Presently 
50 to 80 percent of Europe's satellite program- 
ming is from the United States. This past w inter. 
however, government officials from 22 European 
countries began to formulate some ground rules 
for transfrontier broadcasting to help stem the tide 
of non-European programming. 

Tw o organizations, the Council of Europe and 



4 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1989 













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the European Community (Common Market), are 
in the process of drawing up TV regulations. Their 
documents, which have the weight of an interna- 
tional treaty and a directive (superceding national 
law ). respectively, should be finalized this year. 
They address a variety of issues, including adver- 
tising, the right to block reception of foreign 
channels, children's television, and pornography. 
One chief area of concern to U.S. program pro- 
ducers and distributors is program quotas. Both 
the Council of Europe and the EC agree on the 
principle of limiting non-European programming, 
but percentages are still being worked out. The 
Council recommends "a majority of European 
programs when practicable." while the EC favors 
a ratio of 30 percent European, to rise to 60 percent 
over three years. Such quotas represent a key 
compromise between countries favoring stricter 
quotas, such as France, whose own law now 
requires 40 percent French and 48 percent Euro- 
pean programming, and those promoting a mar- 
ket-driven system, whose main advocate is the 
United Kingdom. 

While government ministers were discussing 
fiscal incentives to encourage investment in Euro- 
pean programming, in December film director 
Richard Attenborough launched a closely related 
project. A new European film and television script 
development fund, which he will chair, has been 
instituted to award S2.4-million annually to ap- 
proximately 1 00 European screenw riters. The fund 
is a project of the European Council, which is 
affiliated w ith the EC. When possible, the grants 
will be recouped from the production budgets of 
those scripts that are produced. The new develop- 
ment fund will be based in London in the offices 
of the British Film Institute, and will receive 
additional backing from a number of British insti- 
tutions, including the BBC. ITV. Channel 4. and 
the British Academy of Film and Television Arts- 
Shell Venture. 

While British broadcasters are thus encourag- 
ing indigenous European production, the Tory 
government is marching in a different direction. 
In November it sent Shockwaves through the 
broadcasting industry with a 45-page White Pa- 
per. "Broadcasting in the 90s: Competition. Choice 
and Quality." w hich will serve as the blueprint for 
a Broadcasting Act, to be debated in Parliament 
later this fall. It calls for a vast overhaul of the 
British broadcasting system, shifting it away from 
its traditional public service philosophy and to- 
ward an increasingly competitive, commercial, 
and Americanized version of broadcasting. In the 
shon term, the ITV system, comprising 15 fran- 
chises (which expire in 1993). will bear the brunt 
of the recommendations, but Channel Four and 
BBC will also be facing significant, if more grad- 
ual, alterations. The White Paper recommends: 

• The introduction of a fifth terrestial channel. 
to be a commercial station. This would end ITV's 
monopoly on advertising, held since its advent in 
the 1 950s. In addition, the paper suggests that one 
of the BBC channels should devote its evening 



hours to sponsored programming. 

• Channel Four should sell its own advertising, 
thus ending its fiscal relationship with ITV. An 
alternative structure is still to be determined. The 
channel would, however, retain its special pro- 
gramming obligations. 

• An auction system is being proposed to sell 
the franchises for the 1 5 ITV stations and the fifth 
channel. Franchises are currently awarded on the 
basis of program qualifications. 

• B BC's system of support, now based on annual 
tax of all TV sets, would eventually be replaced by 
subscription funding. 

• A new "light touch" regulatory body, the 
Independent Television Commission, would re- 
place existing agencies. The recently formed 
Broadcasting Standards Council, which censors 
sex and violence on TV, would gain a statutory 
basis. 

• 25 percent of programming w ould come from 
"independents" (a broadly defined term, covering 
everything from one-person productions to NBC 
Sports). 

Thatcherites argue that the White Paper's rec- 
ommendations will increase program diversity. 
Critics in the Labour Party and the broadcasting 
industry see it another way, claiming that, with an 
emphasis on pay-per-view and subscription tele- 
vision, diversity will be there only for those who 
can afford it. They also fear the effects of the 
auction system, as ITV franchises go to cash-rich 
bidders, squeezing out many of the smaller fran- 
chise holders who have abided by the public 
service approach and who have direct contact 
with their local communities. Not unexpectedly, 
international media baron Robert Maxwell al- 
ready has announced his intention to bid for an 
ITV franchise. As Roy Hattersley. a Labour Part) 
leader, notes, "Many of the new channels will do 
no more than offer vast profits to the tycoons of 
international television." 

Funds raised by the auction process, which 
could amount to tens of millions of pounds, will be 
turned over to the national treasury. This has some 
U.S. broadcasters worried. They fear that the U.S. 
government, looking for ways to chip away at the 
deficit, may follow the British lead and begin to 
auction off broadcast licenses. 

PATRICIA THOMSON 

THE BIG PICTURE: 
THEATRICAL RELEASES 
FOR AMERICAN 
PLAYHOUSE 

Moviegoers can expect to see more American 
Playhouse productions up on the silver screen. 
The seven-year-old public television series, a 
program of the consortium of stations KCET-Los 
Angeles, South Carolina ETV. WGBH-Boston. 
and WNET-New York, is PBS' principle dra- 
matic showcase, with weekly presentations of 
theatrical and literary adaptations, original dra- 



6 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1989 



NISSAN PRESENTS 




THIRTEENTH ANNUAL STUDENT FILM AWARDS 
IN CONJUNCTION WITH EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY 



This is your chance of a lifetime to 
make your break, win your share ol 
over $100, 000 in cash prizes and 
Nissan automobiles and gam recog- 
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Enter your best work now The entry 
you submit must have been produced 
on a non-commercial basis while you 
were enrolled in a US college, univer- 
sity, art institute or film school. 

NARRATIVE 
FILM 

Finished IBmm film. $4,500 awarded 
in cash prizes. First-place winner re- 
ceives a new Nissan Sentra. SPON- 
SORED 'Br 'AMBUS 'ENTERTAINMENT 
Board of Judges: Lewis Allen, Joe 
Dante, Nina Foch, Randa Haines, 
Randal Kleiser 




ANIMATED/ 

EXPERIMENTAL 

FILM 

Finished 16mm film. $4,500 awarded 
in cash prizes. First-place winner re- 
ceives a new Nissan Sentra SPON- 
SORED BY UNIVERSAL PICTURES 
Board of Judges: John Canemaker, 
Ed Hansen, Faith Hubley, Chuck Jones, 
Harry Love. ^ m ^^ 

SCREED/WRITING 

Original feature-length screenplays. 
$4, 500 awarded in cash prizes. First- 
place winner receives a new Nissan 
Sentra. SPONSORED BY JOHN BADHAMS 
GREAT AMERICAN PICTURE SHOW. 
Board of Judges: Mansa BerkeDVan, 
Tony Bill, Syd Field, Anne Kramer, 
Midge Sanford. 



FILMED/TING 

Finished 16mm film. $2,000 awarded in 
cash prizes SPONSORED BY BENIHANA 
OF TOKYO, INC. Board of Judges: Lynzee 
Klmgman. Carol Littleton, Tom Rolf. 




RENEE VALENTE 

PRODUCERS 

AWARD 

In honor of Renee Valenle, Honorary 
Chairperson ol FOCOS and former 
president of the Producers Guild ol 
America. Finished 16mm film. $1,000 
cash prize. Board of Judges: Gale Anne 
Hurd, Alan Rafkm, Renee Valente 



CINEMATOGRAPHY 

Finished 16mm film. $2,000 awarded in 
cash prizes. SPONSORED BY EASTMAN 
KODAK COMPANY. Board ol Judges: 
John Bailey, Allen Daviau, Jim Glennon 



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DOCUMENTARY 
FILM 

Finished 16mm film. $4,500 awarded 
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ceives a new Nissan Sentra SPON- 
SORED BY EASTMAN-KODAK 
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Lance Bird, Karen Goodman, Humberto 
Rivera, Ben Shedd 





SOUND 
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Finished 16mm film. $2,000 cash prize. 
SPONSORED BY DOLBY LABORATORIES 
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WOMENINFILM 

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AWARD 

Finished 16mm film or feature-length 
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INSTITUTIONAL 
AWARDS 

The corresponding college or university 
of the first-place winners of the Narrative. 
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$1,000 in Eastman motion picture film 
and videotape from EASTMAN KODAK 
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FOCUS AWARD 
CEREMONY 

All winners will be flown, expenses 
paid, to Los Angeles for the FOCUS 
Award Ceremony, to be held August 29, 
1989 at the Directors Guild Theater 
Accommodations will be provided by 
The Westm Bonaventure Hotel. 

COMPETITION 

DEADUNE: 
APRIL 28. 1989 

Get a complete set of rules from your 
English, Film or Communications 
Department. Or write to: FOCUS, 10 East 
34th Street, New York, New York 10016 
1212) 779-0404. 

BOARD OF GOVERNORS: terns Allen * John Avildsen * John Badham * Ingmar Bergman • Tony Bill* Mitchell Block * Barbara Boyle * James Cobum * James A Corbel!, CAS * Jules Dassm * John Davis * 
Robert Bettiro * Stanley Bonen * Richard Edlund, ASC * Fedenco Fellim • Milos Forman • John Frankenheimer * Robert Getchell * Bruce Gilbert * Taylor Hacktord * Ward Kimball * Herbert Kline * Arthur Knight * 
Howard W Koch * Barbara Kopple * Jennings Lang * David Lean* Jack Lemmon* Lynne Litlman* Sidney Lumel* Frank Perry* Sydney Pollack* David Putmam* Wan Reiiman* Burt Reynolds* 
Gene Roddenberry * Herbert Ross * David E Salzman * John Schlesmger * George C Scott • Stirling Silliphant • Joan Micklm Silver * Heil Simon * Sloven Spielbeig * Peter Strauss * Jerry Wemtraub * Gene S Weiss * 
Bruce Williamson * Robert Wise • Frederick Wiseman * David Wolper * Peter Yarns * Charlotte Ziwenn HONORARY CHAIRPERSON: Renee Valeme ADMINISTRATION: TRG Communications, Inc 
MAJOR SPONSOR Nissan Motor Corporation in USA ,*» , . „_ — . « ,— «_ . 



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mas, mini-series, and feature films. As of 1988, 
it is doubling the number of features it will put 
into theatrical distribution. Previously distribu- 
tors picked up three to four films per year — 
among them Smooth Talk, Testament, El Norte, A 
Flash of Green, and The Ballad of Gregorio 
Cortez. Last year, however, the figure crept up to 
seven. "It was a fluke of timing," says series ex- 
ecutive producer Lindsay Law. But having seen 
that the American Playhouse staff could handle 
the extra administrative burden. Law intends to 
keep the number of theatrical distribution deals at 
about that level and. in preparation, has already 
stepped up the number of scripts in development. 

Incentives for this increased commitment to 
theatrical distribution are numerous. First among 
them, according to Law, is the increased ability it 
gives American Playhouse to attract "ideas and 
people. That's the most important part. It brings a 
body of work to us by people who might not 
necessarily want to make work for television," but 
would be interested in a dual theatrical/television 
venue. 

Then there are the residual benefits. Perhaps 
the most attractive to American Playhouse execu- 
tives is the quantum leap in publicity that goes 
with the theatrical turf. The series' budget forpro- 
motion is "nothing compared to what film dis- 
tributors have," says American Playhouse's pub- 
licist Les Schecter, of Schecter Cone Communi- 
cations, who estimates that their budget for the 
entire season is less than many theatrical distribu- 
tors spend promoting a single film. Distributors 
picking up American Playhouse coproductions 
pick up the tab for publicity, which has ranged 
between $500,000 and $5-million. For American 
Playhouse, the advertisements, reviews, and word 
of mouth that attend theatrical release add up to 
increased viewer awareness of its films by airtime. 
"It makes the work a known title to audiences," 
says Law. "Those films that have had theatrical 
distribution have been the largest audience get- 
ters" — no small bonus for the series' organizers, 
and for public television stations. Expectations 
are quite high in this regard forThin Blue Line and 
Stand and Deliver, due to air during the 1989 
spring season. (Also in the spring line-up are the 
feature films Rachel River and Stacking, which 
have had limited theatrical releases.) 

Another benefit American Playhouse receives 
is income from theatrical sales. In general, this 
adds up to "very little" profit, according to Law. 
"If we're lucky, we'll see S 1 00-200,000" from 
theatrical, cable, and/or home video sales. Occa- 
sionally, however, a box office smash will add 
significantly to the series' coffers. Law notes that 
the percentage of box office receipts American 
Playhouse received from Stand and Deliver was 
enough to "bail out" The Wash — a Playhouse pro- 
duction that received fine reviews but did poorly 
at the box office — and to help finance new initia- 
tives. 

FT 



8 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1989 



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and Licensers of Home Video Programming - 

Don't Miss Your Best Business Opportunity For 1989! 
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about new production techniques, seek 
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JOB OPPORTUNITY 
VIDEO/THEORY 

The Program in Art at the University of California, 
Riverside, invites applications for a new. tenure- 
track position to teach courses in video and 
theory criticism, Assistant Professor level to 
begin July 1. 1989. Opportunity to develop in- 
novative undergraduate curriculum in theory 
and practice production of video and new 
forms. Qualified candidate should have broad 
knowledge of issues in contemporary art and 
ability to develop long-range facilities and e- 
quipment plans in video. Established exhibition; 
publication record and M.F.A. or equivalent 
professional experience required. Two years 
university level teaching experience beyond 
Teaching Assistant preferred. 

Application deadline: March 31, 1989 

Candidates should submit vitae, examples of 
recent work, slides, or other supporting 
materials (articles, reviews) and solicit three 
confidential letters of recommendation to be 
sent separately. Send to: 

Professor James Strombotne, Chairman 
Search Committee 
Program in Art 
University of California 
Riverside, California 92521 

The University of California is an equal opportunity/ 
affirmative action employer. Minority and women 
candidates are urged to apply 



SEQUELS 

IMAGE Film/Video Center in Atlanta has hired a 
new executive director. Ruby Lerner. to replace 
Robin Reidy, who moved to Seattle. Previously, 
Lerner was the executive director of Alternative 
ROOTS, a regional theater organization. Volun- 
teer Lawyers for the Arts, based in New York 
City, has also appointed a new executive director, 
Sharon Gersten Luckman. formerly executive 
director of the Twyla Tharp Dance Foundation. 
Chloe Aaron, who most recently served as direc- 
tor of Cultural and Children's Programming at 
KQED-San Francisco, has been named vice presi- 
dent for television by the WNYC Communica- 
tions Group in New York City and will be respon- 
sible for all programming activities of the public 
television station. Arthur Tsuchiya. who worked 
as program analyst in the Media Program of the 
New York State Council on the Arts for six years 
and served as acting director since from Novem- 
ber 1987 to December 1988, is now visiting pro- 
fessor of video at Middlebury College in Ver- 
mont. The Media Project in Portland. Oregon, has 
announced the departure of executive director 
Brigette Sarabi, who held that position since 
1986. Lise Yasui. the first coordinator of the 
Philadelphia Independent Film/Video Associa- 
tion, has resigned in order to devote more time to 
her own media production. 

□ □ □ 

As promised, the Socialist government in France 
has announced plans to disband the Commission 
Nationale pour la Communication et les Lib- 

ertes (CNCL) regulatory board and replace it with 
the Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA) 
['"Le PAF: The Changing French Audio-Visual 
Landscape." August/September 1988]. Among 
its other responsibilites, the CSA will oversee 
Canal Plus, the successful pay TV service. 

□ □ □ 

The Fall 1988 edition of California Lawyers for 
the Arts' newsletter reports that the Small Busi- 
ness Administration has asked Congress to scru- 
tinize the commercial activities of nonprofit, 
tax exempt organizations ["Commercial Breaks: 
Profits. Nonprofits. Taxes," October 1985]. Such 
activities are subject to the Unrelated Business 
Income Tax (UBIT) if the Internal Revenue Serv- 
ice determines that they are not related to the 
exempt educational, scientific, or cultural pur- 
pose of the organization. The Small Business 
Administration believes that nonprofits are granted 
an unfair advantage because the UBIT rules are 
not tough enough. The recommendation to mod- 
ify and broaden the limits of the UBIT may be 
considered by the House Ways and Means Over- 
sight Subcommittee during the 1989 session. 

□ □ □ 

As of this year, the Soviet Union's 39 film stu- 
dios must begin to self-finance their films 



["Glasnost and Georgian Cinema." April 1988]. 
This policy shift will most likely result in more 
coproductions among USSR studios and an in- 
crease in joint ventures with foreign companies. 
The Soviet studios may either handle their own 
foreign sales or turn these over to one of the three 
newly consolidated sales divisions of Sovex- 
portfilm. The exact nature of the contracts with 
foreign production entities is still to be deter- 
mined. 



□ □ 



□ 



The National League of Cities, the country's 
largest municipal lobbying organization, agreed 
upon policy recommendations for new cable tele- 
vision legislation at their annual membership 
meeting in December ["Cable Feels the Heat." 
June 1988]. The NLC advocates the restoration of 
basic cable rate regulation, the limitation of indus- 
try consolidation, and the entry of telephone com- 
panies into the cable TV business if they abide by 
the same rules concerning public access, fran- 
chise fees, etc. as apply to cable operators. In 
addition, the NLC will urge the courts to clarify 
cable's First Amendment rights, and grant cities 
immunity from monetary damages in lawsuits 
involving the First Amendment. 

nan 

On January 3. the first day of the 101 th Congress, 
Rep. John Dingell (D-Michigan) reintroduced a 
bill codifying the Fairness Doctrine on the House 
floor ["Sequels." March 1988]. This bill closely 
replicates that approved by Congress in 1987, 
which was subsequently vetoed by President 
Reagan. It is expected that Senator Ernest Hollings 
(D-South Carolina) will introduce a counterpart 
to Dingell' s bill in the Senate sometime after 
January 25. Both Congressmen, who chair the 
House and Senate committees overseeing com- 
munications regulation, have vowed to block all 
legislation broadcasters seek until the Fairness 
Doctrine becomes law. While George Bush as 
Vice President opposed the Fairness Doctrine, as 
President he may decide not to veto the bill in the 
interest of establishing a smoother relationship 
with the Democratic Congress. 



MOVING ? 

LET US KNOW. 

IT TAKES FOUR TO SIX WEEKS 

TO PROCESS A CHANGE OF 

ADDRESS, SO PLEASE NOTIFY 

US IN ADVANCE, 



10 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1989 



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LEGAL BRIEFS 



FUTURES TRADING: 

THE SCREENPLAY OPTION AGREEMENT 



Todd Alan Price 
and Paul Fadus 



In the motion picture industry, a producer usually 
does not purchase a screenplay until it has been 
packaged. Packaging is the process wherebv the 
producer estimates the budget needed to film the 
screenplay and also obtains commitments from 
actors and a director to work on the project. The 
producer is then able to combine script, budget, 
actors and director into one complete package, 
which can then be presented to a prospective 
financier in the hope of obtaining enough money 
to make the film. It is the Screenplay Option 
Agreement that allows the producer to assemble 
this package at a considerable savings. 

The advantage of using the option agreement 
is that the producer can assemble the package 
without an outright purchase of the script. Instead, 
the producer and screenwriter come to an agree- 
ment that the producer will pay a percentage of the 
sale price of the script — which depends on many 
factors — in return for the exclusive right to pur- 
chase the script after a source of financing for the 
script is found. 

An option agreement should begin by spelling 
out exactly what is being optioned. It should set 
forth a description of the property to be acquired. 
When describing the property, always include the 
origins of the script. Use phrases such as "an ori- 
ginal screenplay" or "based on a novel by." An 
important part of this description that should always 
be included is a recitation of the copyright re- 
gistration number of the script. The description of 
the property as well as the copyright registration 
number makes clear the precise nature of the 
option. 

Once the agreement adequately describes the 
property that is being optioned, the next provision 
should clearly state that the option is exclusive — 
that is, it is offered to only one producer for the 
specific period of time stated in the agreement. 
Making the option exclusive protects the pro- 
ducer. Without exclusivity, the producer might 
spend months putting together a budget, negotiat- 
ing w ith actors and directors, shopping around for 
financing, only to have the screenwriter sell the 
script to another producer. 

In general, the optimum period that an option 
should remain open is one year. In addition, there 
should also be a clause allow ing the renewal of the 



option for another year if the producer makes an 
additional payment to the writer. Of course, an 
option may run for as long as agreed upon be- 
tween the producer and the writer, but the price 
paid for the option should be high enough to 
compensate the writer for having the material off 
the market for the option period. It would be ill- 
advised to grant an option for longer than three 
years. 

Another important and often lengthy section of 
an option agreement is the description of rights 
that are acquired by the producer should the op- 
tion be exercised. It's important to include all of 
the terms of the purchase of the screenplay, and 
these must be spelled out. An agreement to "agree 
later" on the terms is worthless. These terms 
might include, for example, the right to make a 
motion picture version of the script, the right to 
produce a television series based on the script, or 
the right to produce a theatrical remake based on 
the screenplay. 

The next item to be included in an option 
agreement is the price to be paid, which should 
take into consideration a number of factors: the 
type of project, the screenwriter's reputation and 
experience, the producer's background and repu- 
tation, and the relative bargaining power of the 
producer and the screenwriter as well as their 
attorneys' negotiating prow ess. Not only must the 
price paid for the option be stated, but the agree- 
ment must also detail how and when it is to be 
paid. Most often the screenwriter receives the first 
term option payment upon execution of the option 
agreement. If the option is renewed for a second 
term, the second option payment is ordinarily paid 
w hen the screenw riter is notified of the producer's 
desire to extend the option term. The payments 
made to the writer for the option are ordinarily 
deducted from the purchase price at the time the 
producer exercises the option and purchases the 
screenplay. 

In addition to a fixed screenwriter's fee. the 
writer may participate in the profits of the project. 
This participation will usually be from the pro- 
ducer's share of net profits, usually ranging from 
one to five percent, depending upon the writer's 
bargaining strength. Suffice it to say, net profits 
should be carefully and clearly defined. 

Since screenplays are often optioned by pro- 
ducers but financed by another entity, the right of 
the producer to assign rights in the screenplay to 
another entity is critical. Many screenwriters seek 
to limit the producer's right to assign her or his 



rights in the project to major studios (or at the very 
least, "mini-majors"). This is for the screenwrit- 
ers' protection. By limiting the producer's right to 
assign rights in the screenplay, the writer attempts 
to limit the possibility that the script will be pro- 
duced by a less than reputable film company. 

The next important section of an option con- 
tract deals w ith the sometimes heavily negotiated 
area of screen credit for the writer. The agreement 
should contain a description of what credit the 
screenwriter w ill receive on screen as well as in 
paid advertisements. The description of the writer's 
credit should include the size and placement of the 
credit. For the producer's protection, any credit 
obligation accrued to the writer should be limited 
to credit given which is under the producer's con- 
trol. Then if. for example, a newspaper inadver- 
tently leaves out the screenwriter's credit, the pro- 
ducer w ill not be in breach of the agreement. 

The next section of the agreement is that which 
triggers the option and gives notice to the writer 
that the screenplay is going to be purchased by the 
producer. The agreement should describe the steps 
necessary for the producer to exercise the option 
to purchase the screenplay. Included should be 
such terms as the time period within which the 
option must be exercised, how it must be exer- 
cised (such as "in writing"), and whether any 
money is to be paid at the time of execution of the 
option. Always specify that the option may only 
be exercised by written notice from the producer 
to the writer, detailing the intent to purchase the 
screenplay. The option should never be exercised 
by verbal notification, which could easily result 
in a misunderstanding between the parties. It is 
good practice to require the producer to accom- 
pany the letter w ith a check for the purchase price 
of the screenplay. (A check should also accom- 
pany the notice to renew the option.) 

An essential part of the option agreement is the 
Literary Purchase Agreement (often referred to as 
an "Exhibit A contract"). This agreement details 
all the terms and conditions that will become ef- 
fective if the option is exercised. As in the be- 
ginning of the option agreement, the literary pur- 
chase agreement first describes the property being 
purchased. After an appropriate description, the 
precise rights that the producer is being granted 
are set forth. It is to the producer's advantage that 
these rights be as broad as possible. Should the 
w riter w ish to reserve any rights in the screenplay, 
they should be clearly set forth. Although the 
duration of the rights needs to be explictly in- 



12 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1989 



Request for 
submissions 



Contact: 

Llew Smith 

Series Editor 

The American Experience. 

WGBH 

1 25 Western Avenue 

Boston MA 02134 

617.492.2777x4235 



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films - in development, near completion or completed - for 1989 and 
future seasons. 

The American Experience is public television's first and only nationally 
broadcast series devoted exclusively to American history. We are 
looking for stories that evoke a sense of drama in history; stories that 
capture what life was like in another time and offer unique perspectives 
on events or people in our nation's history. Biographies, social history, 
dramas (if based on primary sources) are welcome. We are not interested 
in films that have had cable, commercial or previous PBS exposure. 

Submit cassettes (when available) along with proposals outlining the 
story and the major historical themes, the techniques of filming and the 
available archival sources. Include funding history of the project, 
resumes of key personnel, awards and press clippings (if applicable). 
Tapes will be returned. 



TheAmericanExperience 



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eluded in the agreement, perpetual rights are the 
most desirous from the producer's view. 

The literary purchase agreement must also state 
unambiguously that the producer has the right to 
adapt or rearrange the script in any manner and 
that all such modifications or rewrites are the 
property of the producer for which the producer 
has the right to obtain copyright. The amount of 
compensation that the writer will receive should 
be designated in the agreement. This may be a 
series of payments over time, in addition to a 
percentage of the producer's net profits, the size 
of which will depend upon the bargaining strength 
of the respective parties. 

Crucial provisions in the literary purchase 
agreement are the warranty and indemnification 
clauses. With these the writer warrants that she or 
he is the sole author of the work and ow ner of it 
"free and clear" and that she or he has the right, 
power, and authority to enter into the agreement. 
The writer also agrees to indemnify the producer 
from all losses that result from a breach of the 
warranty that the work is original. In this way, 
should a third party claim that the work infringed 
their copyright and was not the writer's original 
material, the producer is legally protected. 

Whatever credit the writer will receive should 
also be described and a clause included that gives 
the producer the right to use the writer's name in 
exploiting the film. The producer should also re- 
tain the right of assignment, in case she or he is 
unable to produce the film, thus allowing transfer 
of the property to others. 

Although the literary purchase agreement is a 
separate document, it should be simultaneously 
negotiated, drafted, and signed with the option 
agreement. The terms of the option agreement and 
literary purchase agreement must not contradict 
each other. The literary purchase agreement should 
specify that it becomes null and void if the option 
is not exercised by the producer. Even after the 
agreement is signed by the parties, it should be 
held in escrow until the option is exercised. When 
the producer exercises the option to purchase the 
screenplay, the literary purchase agreement will 
go into effect, thus completing the screenplay 
option process. 

Todd Alan Price practices entertainment law in 
New York City and is an instructor of Film and 
Entertainment Law at the School of \ isual Arts. 
He currently senes as co-chair of the Entertain- 
ment Law Committee of the New York Count} 
Lawyer's Association. 

Paul Fadus is a recent graduate ofFordham Law 
School and works in Mr. Price's office. 

B 1989 Todd Alan Price & Paul Fady. 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1989 



BOOK REVIEW 



FILM ON THE FRONT LINE 



The Cinema of Apartheid: Race and Class in 

South African Film 

by Keyan Tomaselli 

New York/Chicago: Smyrna/Lake View Press, 

1988, 300 pp., $12.50 (paperback) 



Ntongela Masilela 

To write a Marxist history of an art form or a 
cultural process in a time designated as postmod- 
ern — or at least with the logic of postmodernism 
dominating cultural debates — is one of the central 
challenges of our time. In Europe, three 
responses from a Marxist perspective have 
been put forth as the dominance of poststruc- 
turalist theory begins to ebb. Italian architec- 
ture critic Manfredo Tafuri has argued con- 
vincingly that the essential task today is not 
so much writing a history of modern art 
forms as writing a modern history of those 
forms. In his discussion of the politics of 
history writing. French philosopher Louis 
Althusser has theorized the imperative of 
producing a dialectical concept of the his- 
tory of an art form rather than merely pre- 
senting a narrative account of its history. 
And in England, writing about the history of 
structures of the State, Perry Anderson has 
postulated that history writing should be 
theoretical and analytical as well as factual 
and descriptive in order to be adequately 
comprehensive. 

Writing from a Marxist perspective and 
aware of these present-day challenges, Keyan 
Tomaselli has written a theoretically solid 
book that attempts to develop an overview of 
modern South African cinema. Employing 
the concepts of class and race as structuring 
principles and as ideological determinants 
of South African film, Tomaselli's The 
Cinema of Apartheid is not so much about 
the history of filmmaking in that country as 
it is about the modem conditions that shaped 
its cinema. In other words, Tomaselli has 
sought to unravel the historical bases of 
Apartheid cinema. 

With a very few exceptions — which I will 
address later — South African cinema has imbibed 
and regurgitated the ideology of Apartheid as if it 
was a natural phenomenon, whereas it is an im- 
posed historical condition. Tomaselli shrewdly 
observes that Apartheid is predicated on the para- 
doxical notion that racism is mainly an attribute of 
blacks. In its attempts to advance such insidious 



ideas, official (that is, consciously or unconsciously 
upholding Apartheid) South African cinema is 
probably the only national cinema in the world 
that has had the gall to purvey mediocrity as genial 
art. Witness the Broederbond antics of The Gods 
Must Be Crazy director Jamie Uys (Broederbond 
is a white Afrikaner Mafia that secretly formu- 
lates the rationale of Apartheid), who turned the 
tragedy of the displaced Khoisan people into a 
comedy rather than a serious historical lesson. In- 
deed, the ideological nature of the South African 
cinema is so extensive and claustrophobic that it 
has destroyed any aesthetic uses of film within the 
national culture. 



W 



*rk E 



THE CINEMA 
OF APARTHEID 



I I I I i 



*tt MP »i r* 

Race and Class 
in South African Film 



Keyan Tomaselli 



In the first two impressive chapters of his book, 
titled "Censorship" and "Control by Subsidy," 
Tomaselli examines the institutional controls that 
the South African state uses to impose Apartheid 
on the nation's cinematic production. From the 
inception of the South African cinema in 1910 — 
the same year that the modem South African 
nation was founded — to 1963. most censorship 



was imposed on imported films and concentrated 
on representations of sex and nudity. Throughout 
this half-century, official South African cinema 
never challenged the status quo of Apartheid. 
From 1963 onwards, censorship became directly 
political, since some films reversed this compla- 
cent attitude towards Apartheid. Government con- 
trol is also practiced in the form of subsidies for 
film production, the topic of Tomaselli's second 
chapter. In South Africa, this system operates by 
funding only those films that overtly or tacitly 
promote the tenets of Apartheid. It's no coinci- 
dence that this kind of official support began in 
1956, when oppositional forces were in the proc- 
ess of mounting their challenge to the gov- 
ernment. As Tomaselli shows, the second 
major reason behind the policies of subsidi- 
zation was that the government hoped to 
prevent the production of noncommercial 
films, especially those that displayed artis- 
tic intention and technical competence. 

In this context, a very peculiar phenome- 
non emerged in the 1970s, one consonant 
with the perverted logic of Apartheid: the 
emergence of films for blacks about black 
people made in the African languages but 
written and directed by whites who do not 
speak these languages. (Here I must regis- 
ter a very strong objection to Tomaselli 
who consistently refers to black languages 
as "vernaculars," in contrast to English and 
Afrikaans, which are given the higher status 
of "languages." Zulu, Xhosa, Sesotho, etc. 
are languages. To think otherwise perpetu- 
ates colonialist ideology and prejudices.) 
In these films subsidized by the govern- 
ment, the neo-fascist ideology of Apartheid 
runs amok. Accurately, Tomaselli refers to 
this type of cinema is films for blacks and 
never as black films even though only blacks 
act in them — a very important distinction. 
Analytically, Tomaselli draws a distinction 
between these and Afrikaans films. In the 
former there is both an absence of "poli- 
tics" and of whites. Hence conflict is elimi- 
nated, and individual solutions, rather than 
collective actions, are emphasized. In con- 
trast, the Afrikaans films examine the trau- 
mas of urbanization and the "virtue" of the sepa- 
ration of the races. Tomaselli is at his best when he 
compares these processes and analyzes the forma] 
configurations that resulted. 

Although The Cinema of Apartheid is one of 
the most engaging and useful books ever written 
on a particular African national cinema, Tomaselli 
omits one of the country's major historical proc- 



MARCH 1989 



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esses: the mining revolution (the discovery of dia- 
monds in Kimberley and gold in Johannesburg in 
the late nineteenth century), which totally trans- 
formed the historical, cultural, political, and so- 
cial landscape of South Africa. It was the mining 
industry that set the stage for the emergence of the 
South African cinema. It was this same industry 
that transformed dance halls into cinema halls in 
the mining compounds, populated by the newly 
created black proletariat. The philosophy of Apar- 
theid was first presented and justified in mining 
publications. Without considering the effects of 
this revolution, the emergence and the develop- 
ment of South African cinema becomes incom- 
prehensible. 

In his fascinating penultimate chapter, "Inde- 
pendent Cinema," Tomaselli situates the forma- 
tion of the independent cinema in South Africa — 
which has persistently maintained its opposition 
to Apartheid — in the wider context of the forma- 
tion of third world cinema: Brazilian Cinema 
Novo, Argentinian Tercine Cinema, and the Afri- 
can cinema of Ousmane Sembene. Tomaselli ar- 
gues that the explosion of the independent, or 
oppositional, cinema in South Africa resulted 
from the establishment of film and television 
departments at the universities, which coincided 
with the reawakening of the labor and student 
movements in the 1980s. Many South African 
independent filmmakers based their work on these 
two areas of social mobilization. As opposed to 
being subsidized by the system of government 
funding explained and critiqued earlier in the 
book, most of these filmmakers have received 
funds from institutions outside government circles: 
the South African Council of Churches, European 
television stations, private benefactors, and so on. 
The present state of emergency in South Africa, 
which was declared 1985, has reduced the vigor 
and effectiveness of independent cinema, but it 
has by no means eliminated it. This sector of the 
South African cinema is impressive, both in terms 
of its innovation and in contribution to cultural 
debates. It has aligned itself with such new intel- 
lectual movements as the History Workshop at the 
University Witwatersrand and with various black 
intellectual historical forces. 

Tomaselli's last chapter, "Social Polarization," 
deals with, among other things, the African Na- 
tional Congress' establishment of a film unit. To- 
maselli believes that it is the independent cinema 
sector and the ANC film unit that will provide the 
foundation of a post-Apartheid cinema. In my 
view, Lionel Rogosin's 1959 film ComeBack Af- 
rica — some of which was shot secretly in South 
Africa and not allowed a screening there until 
1988 — prefigures this coming national cinema. 

Ntongela Masilela is a black South African inde- 
pendent filmmaker presently residing in exile in 
West Berlin, who is attached to Berlin Technical 
University. 




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MARCH 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 17 



CLIO RIDES THE AIRWAVES 
History on Television 




t -» 






In Hearts and Hands, 
featured on PBS' 
history series The 
American Exper- 
ience, filmmaker Pat 
Ferrero makes 
creative use of quilt 
patterns to tell the 
story of women's 
involvement in the 
Underground 
Railroad and the 
temperance 
movement. 

Photo American Hurrah 
Antiques 



»w 



i 



v "Aw 



Kathleen Hulser 



History on television usually packs all the allure of bad medicine: the nasty 
stuff goes down hard but is oh-so-good for us. We ingest it like bad 
medicine, too: s\\ allov. ing w ith eyes squeezed shut. The populist challenge, 
then. is to make history programs for TV that do more than merely coat the 
pill u ith sugar. In response, a generation of film- and videomakers have 
been brewing some new recipes for marshalling dead facts, and a handful 
of their efforts can be seen in the first season of the Public Broadcasting 
Sen ice's grab bag series The American Experience. Making popular 
tele\ ision history poses anothercraft challenge as well: how can information/ 
education and recreation be mixed to allay TV programmers" anxieties 
about the ratio of facts to fun? Independent producers also answer that call 
most provocatively, and American Experience has thus opened the door to 
a wider variety of approaches than we are accustomed to seeing in well- 
funded primetime series. New topics such as cityscapes of disaster, military 
propaganda as media spectacle, sexual transgressions of mill girls, and quilt 
design as popular propaganda take the place of epic events, martial con- 
flagrations, and great men's biographies. 

Sometimes painfully, the series asks. "Whose culture, whose history 
constitutes "the American experience"?" As if in reply, the programs tend 



18 THE INDEPENDENT 



to favor the voiceless usually omitted from historical accounts. To address 
these poorly documented subjects, the shows' makers ransack the archives 
for a different reading of the past — at their best, inventing new interpreta- 
tions of unconsecrated visual evidence such as advertisements, classified 
ads. postcards, patent medicine bottles, handbills, propaganda films, and 
architectural details. But like so many PBS projects, the series does not go 
nearly far enough. Because PBS — in this case, the stations that produced the 
series. WGBH-Boston. KCET-Los Angeles, and WNET-New York, along 
with executive producer Judy Crichton and her staff — still nervously 
subscribes to journalistic canons of objectivity, it balks at allowing strong 
points of view. A reluctance to permit explicit interpretations means that 
many individual shows — all made by different producers — manifest a 
naive faith in the reality and factuality of conventional representations. 
Unlike current thinking in the historical profession nowadays, the knower 
and the known maintain an illusory pristine distance from one another. This 
persistence of the Anglo-Saxon empirical creed seems peculiar indeed 
when we recall the serious self-critique of means and theories that have 
convulsed the history and the film/video fields for the past two decades. 

Letting the pictures speak for themselves may be advisable if the pictures 
are orchestrated in ways that make their pictorial conventions clear. But to 
simply take images of American history as if they stand outside the 
m\ estigation misses half the task and adventure of visual history. The most 

MARCH 1989 






egregious example of this occurs in Views of a Vanishing Frontier (Metro- 
politan Museum of Art, Craig B. Fisher and Helen Ashton Fisher), which 
analyzes the nineteenth-century drawings and paintings of a Swiss explorer 
of the West. The depictions of Indians and native artifacts are read anthro- 
pologically without any indication of how the cultural encounter between 
European and Mandan, Sioux, or Omaha shaped the perceptions of the 
artist. Meanwhile, the voiceover reassures us of the pictures' fidelity. No 
matter how fascinating the expedition, this is an inadequate use of visual 
evidence. To fulfill their several visual, entertainment, and ideological 
agendas, the programmers and producers need to think much more about 
how they wield the images they unearth, how narratives and pictures 
resonate, and what creative deployment of voice and effects tracks can add 
to the historical riches. 

Is television history a genre? The answer to this question will clarify why 
some visual proof wins unquestioned acceptance and other strategies of 
pictorial persuasion seem dubious. Visual history, whether arranged as 
documentary, nonfiction, ordocudrama, is most often a branch of narrative 
genre and thus orients the viewer to the story, not the evidence. Reading the 
pictures then plays second fiddle to the story, which is knit together as if the 
pictures themselves have no historical function other than illustrating a 
point or event. The prominence of the story in this configuration makes us 
forget how to evaluate evidence — indeed, we become unconscious of 
anything but the visuals as content. The question, then, is not so much 
whether history has TV genre attributes, but rather how it defines its relation 
to its genre. Unfortunately, rather than probing the nature of visual proof or 
the impact of ways of seeing, most of that discussion in the United States has 
centered on objectivity, attribution of sources, and neglected topics — jour- 
nalistic parameters derived from pre-moving image days. 

According to Crichton, documentary is the series' core format, as 
opposed to, say, biography or docudrama. The attachment to familiar docu- 
mentary forms immediately shapes a preference for a certain style of 
conveying information. The even-handed reporting of reality as if the 
observer, camera crew, and editor were not molding events is the backbone 
of the mainstream documentary technique that has come under damaging 
attack for its manipulation of realities it claims to simply mirror. Ignoring 
that debate, American Experience aims at visual legitimacy through histori- 
cal fact, rather than paying attention to visual history as a genre. Thus, hoary 
narrative conventions live on in too many of these pieces: A "bad things 
happen to good people" storyline organizes conflict, as in Geronimo and the 
Apache Resistance (Neil Goodwin and Lena Carr) and The World That 
Moses Built (Ed Gray and Mark Obenhaus), or the "grave host in studious 
setting" (played by historican David McCullough) signals that history is 
serious. 

Meanwhile, since there appears to be so little reflection about the 
selection of images, few viewers will pause to ask themselves if they 
embody the historically significant or simply the most dramatic visual 
record researchers found. The show Do You Mean There Are Still Real 
Cowboys?" (Jon Blair, with Glenn Close), for instance, clearly arose as a 
series of sumptuous landscape shots decorated with cowboys, not a scrutiny 
of mythologies of the West as the narration claims. "Such is the tyranny of 
the moving image in tele-history, that the existence or non-existence of a 
piece of film may determine whether or not a particular historical point will 
be made," writes Colin McArthur in Television and History.' How can 
televised history maintain its credibility if viewers realize these grounds for 



1. Colin McArthur, Television and History (London: British Film Institute. 1978). 
p. 14. 



Views of a Vanishing Frontier, produced by the 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, tells the story of Prince 

Maximilian of Weid and artist Karl Bodmer's 

expedition up the Missouri River from 1832 to 1634 to 

study North American Indian tribes. The artist's 

sketches are here treated as anthropological data. 

Photo: Joslyn Art Museum 



choosing materials? Attempting to loosen the grip of this particular version 
of visual empiricism, we can perhaps learn how to create a more favorable 
climate for clarified positions that do not build their arguments largely on 
available footage. 

Even when archival materials abound, the ways archives and interviews 
interact reflect interpretive choices, no matter how assiduously objectivity 
is pursued. Consider a famous recent example in PBS history that shows 
how an argument favoring a strong point of view could have pointed the 
debate around a controversial piece in a different direction. Vietnam: A 
Television History hewed to standard notions of journalistic objectivity, 
winning praise for its balance. 2 Much to the producers' surprise, the right- 
wing chose to attack its conclusions and produced a filmed rebuttal about 
how liberals lost the Vietnam War. Asian scholar Stephen Vlastos points out 
that a close reading of the series would show left- and right-wing analysts 
that the series fit pictures and story into liberal scenarios of the war. treating 
opposing voices as critiques when they were, in fact, only representative of 
politicians' and high officials' opinions.' The right-wing's response also 
attempted — less successfully — to achieve a tone of objectivity, substituting 
different comments and voiceovers. Neither group took the confrontation as 
an opportunity to advocate making political interpretations explicit: both 
sides remained addicted to the garment of objectivity that had served them 
so well. In 1963 E.H. Carr told an audience of historians, "[T]he historian 
chooses the right facts. ..applies the right standard of significance"... which 
is "partly dependent on his [sic] capacity to recognize the extent of his 



2. The 1983 series was produced by WGBH. in association with Britain's Central 
Independent Television and France's Antenne 2. under executive producer Richard 
Ellison, with Stanley Karnow as chief reporter. 

3. Stephen Vlastos, "Television Wars: Representation of the Vietnam War in 
Television Documentaries," Radical History Review, No. 36 (1986), pp. 1 15-132. 




MARCH 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 19 



The autobiographical Eric Sevareid — Not So Wild A 
Dream, by Sevareid and Anthony Potter, does not 
reveal much about the journalist's — or the average 
citizen's — private lite in the years preceding World 
War II, but instead serves as a vehicle tor commen- 
tary by Sevareid on elements in his public lite. 

Photo Culver Pictures 



The program about New York City urban planning 
czar Robert Moses, The World Thai Moses Built, by 
Ed Gray and Mark Obenhaus, chooses biography 
as a way ot understanding urban development. 

Photo Fortune Magazine 




imohement in that situation." 4 In visual media under the reign of a 
condensation aesthetic, the choice and arrangement of facts is absolutely 
crucial. The more producers dare to make their point of view clear, the less 
manipulative and more stimulating the product is likely to be. 

Stephen Brier. Joshua Brown, and their team of historian/filmmakers at 
the American Social History Project respond to this challenge in projects 
originally designed for community college audiences. Brown believes that 
carefully conceived social history confronts the one-sidedness of the 
historical record head-on. imaginatively answering the visual silences 
rather than cooperating w ith the biases of what evidence survives. Since few 
lithographs of the late-nineteenth century document the attitudes of workers 
during the era of railroad strikes, the ASHP team analyzed the surviving 
anti-striker graphics to weigh the evidence for their film 1877: The Grand 
Army of Starvation. Instead of quoting texts that state how the owning 
classes feared the strikers and unemployed, they argue that the depiction of 
the workers with animal faces flowed from that very fear. Working in a 
period short on photographs and moving images did not deter the ASHP. 




4. E.H. Cair. It hat Is History? (London: Pelican Books. 1963). originally an address 
to Oxford donv 



Rather it motivated them to make more explicit interventions in the material 
to further their historical analysis. Looking at 1877 and other ASHP pieces 
not part of The American Experience, we realize immediately that its 
producers are social historians (the group was formed by colleagues of 
Herbert Gutman dedicated to conveying history through popular media). In 
contrast, too many of The American Experience shows aspire to a smooth 
television look, leaving us in the dark about the reasons for their interest in 
a particular topic, their historical positions or methods. 

If the makers of individual works in the series sometimes bury their 
interpretations, it is perhaps because the series itself has ambiguous rela- 
tions with traditional modes of authority. We have seen how picture "facts" 
are treated as unquestionable data. We might go on to wonder why we do 
not see how historians change their minds about a historical question. It is 
a grasp of this process w hich would enlighten us about the status of the "new 
facts" the series offers. When we notice new objects of inquiry — women, 
the slave system, residues of popular culture — we do not know why they 
now command attention instead of the older revered subjects of history, 
such as the Presidents. Too many shows put their information in the off- 
screen narrations, editing pictures to text. The narrative of \ anishing \ tews, 
for instance, waves across a chasm to its visual track of paintings. Not So 
Wild a Dream (Eric Sevareid and Anthony Potter) parades a wealth of 
inorganic archival snippets to illustrate Sevareid's autobiographical com- 
mentaries on his impressions of Europe immediately before World War II 
erupted. 

Other contemporary filmmakers, however, have cooked up different 
mixes of voices to locate the source of authority more precisely — even if we 
consider only techniques devised for narration. Five Points (an ASHP film ) 
opens its story of Irish immigrant life in New York City w ith the disapprov- 
ing homily of a Protestant reforming minister. That voice is later contra- 
dicted by the testimonies of Irish families living in the Five Points area, who 
offer a different explanation of their culture. Similarly, one American Ex- 
perience offering. Sins of Our Mothers (David Hoffman and Matthew 
Collins), expertly interweaves voices and enriches its sound effects track 



20 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1989 




with a dramatic chorus of whispers and tongue-cluckings that convey the 
potent role of gossip in enforcing community standards. The multiple per- 
spectives in the film's narration stem from enthusiastic collaborations with 
local historians and on-site observers in Maine, and the film's primary, but 
not only, narrative voice is supplied by 89-year-old Nettie Mitchell. Sins 
constructs and reconstructs memory, and its authority derives from a mix of 
"facts" and meditation on the problems of historical representation. It is as 
much about oral history and the uses of local legends as changing notions 
of sin and small town society. 

At another level, American Experience's tentative plunge into social his- 
tory that questions traditional forms of expertise is undermined by its cast- 
ing of a conventional patriarchal figure to introduce and conclude each 
show. Historian David McCullough's opening remarks usually attempt to 
catch our attention and steer us to important issues, but he is so unsure of 
whom he is addressing that, for example, he can find little more to say about 
Eudora Welty — One Writer's Beginnings (Patchy Wheatley) than that the 
book inspiring the film portrait lingered long on the bestseller list. Consider 
the difference between that self-conscious celebrity hook and how Sins of 
Our Mothers contextuaYizes, its link to the booksellers' front rack. Producers 
Hoffman and Collins treat the same intriguing incident of nineteenth- 
century incest and ostracism that Judith Rosner's potboiler Emmeline does, 
but they link their historical exploration to the popular novel's natural and 
legitimate curiosity about sex and sin in the nineteenth century, gently 
justifying their common ground with the bestseller while clarifying their 
differences in method. 

In many recent documentaries the role and authority of "talking head 
witnesses" who provide the raw material for first-person narrative histories 
have incited controversies. In a 1986 article in the Nation, historian Jesse 
Lemisch criticizes what he terms the "voice of the first person heroic" 5 in 



Five Points makes use of illustrations of the Irish working 
class and other immigrants published in books and 
newspapers aimed at genteel readers. The documen- 
tary, by the American Social History Project, exposes 
the bias inherent in such visual representations. 

Courtesy filmmakers 



In The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter, by Connie 

Field, five women who joined the workforce during 

World War II comment on the government's use of 

propaganda posters, films, newsreels, and music 

first to get them to work in the factories, then after 

the war to send them back into the kitchens. 

Photo: U.S. Government Poster 




J1.S. EMPLOYMENT SERVi 






5. Jesse Lemisch, "I Dreamed I Saw MTV Last Night," the Nation. October 1 8, 1 986: 
"Letters," the Nation, December 13,1 986; Jesse Lemisch, "Politics of Left Culture," 
the Nation, December 20, 1986. 



many left-wing films of the last 15 years, lambasting the resurrection of 
discredited 1930s Popular Front aesthetics that militantly present a partial 
picture of history as the whole truth. He complains not about the amount of 
talking but the dearth of vigorous questioning in these productions. Lemisch 
believes that oral history (the switch in authority so valued by left historians 
as granting access to the grassroots point of view) in films like Union Maids, 
The Good Fight, and Seeing Red is betrayed by its naive use: a string of first- 
person statements on the soundtrack must be true because X, Y, and Z say 
so. This method, he contends, caricatures the trial by jury system because 
its lacks cross-examination to probe the memory or testimony. To offset this 
tendency Lemisch calls for more critical voices. 

One example of this kind of cinematic oral history. The Life and Times 
of Rosie the Riveter (Connie Field) — which figures in the series but not in 
Lemisch's critique — does have contending voices: government propa- 
ganda statements frame the comments of its witnesses. While we hear 



MARCH 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 21 






Indians, Outlaws and Angie Debo, by 
Barbara Abrash and Martha Sandlin, profiles 
Debo (left), the Oklahoman historican and 
pioneer who risked her career as a historian 
writing about a government conspiracy to 
rob the Indians of their oil-rich land. 

Courtesy The American Experience 




women workers of the 1940s testify about the realities of their working 
li\es. we see images of how during wartime, the state temporarily plugs 
women into male jobs w ithout defeminizing them. Soon after V-E day. the 
same propaganda sources once again depict women as happy mothers and 
housewives. The juxtaposition of shifting government fantasies of what 
women ought to do. and the plain-spoken and moving expressions of what 
women actually want to do encourages the audience to identify with the 
women workers forced out of their jobs in 1946. rather than with the 
go\ernment"s heavy-handed persuasion in the name of society's greater 
good. 

This example hints at the limits of Lemisch's critique, which takes 
insufficient notice of the rhetorical techniques that imagemakers use for 
impact. The effect achieved by filmed w itnesses depends on the bond and 
identification of the spectator and the speaker. Aggressive questioning 
breaks the viewers* trance and pleasure. And. in some films built around the 
recollections of "talking head" witnesses, there's a case to be made for 
creating a sense of intimacy w hen the subjects have a negative historical 
image to overcome. 

The controversy over talking heads raises a perennial dilemma for 
makers of popular history. How do you make visual history about people 
that goes beyond affectionate anecdote or personality piece? American 
Experience repeatedly runs this risk: half of 1 6 first season shows center on 
an individual. Although the series producers have not succumbed to the 
temptation to commission films celebrating heroic exploits, we might 
reasonably ask if biography is their chosen strategy for popularizing history, 
why not make a biography series? Filmmakers may reply by saying that 
social facts w ork better personified. In the case of Mark Obenhaus and Ed 
Gray's contribution to The American Experience. The World That Moses 
Built, the choice of New York City public works czar Robert Moses as a 
vehicle for understanding urban development in the twentieth century 
seems to make this point. But the question arises again w hen the filmmakers 
devote too much screen time to anecdotal comments from Moses' cronies 
on his character or creating a cliched opposition betw een the autocrat Moses 
and the poor people he displaces, while they neglect his policies and pro- 



grams to achieve this. End result? We remember 
Moses as a flawed great man but can not tell why. 
American Experience wants to connect public 
and private spheres in new ways but too often only 
manages to be nosy about personal detail, while 
revering the more public documents dug up on the 
subject. Sevareid's Not So Wild a Dream is auto- 
biography but uses little material that reveals a pri- 
vate life. Instead we are treated to recitations of the 
public elements of the journalist's experiences, 
proffered as stand-ins for average American per- 
ceptions of the world. Indians. Outlaws and Angie 
Debo (Barbara Abrash and Martha Sandlin), a 
portrait of an independent Oklahoman historian 
chronicling the Indian past, fails to connect her 
w ork to admittedly charming scenes of Debo put- 
tering around in her own kitchen at nearly 100 
years of age. At the same time, the emotional 
stimulation of catching a glimpse of people's pri- 
vate lives takes precedence over meaningful, inter- 
pretable visual stimulation in many of the series' programs. Worse, what 
visuals do appear function at a very low level of evidence. John F. Kennedy 
sweats in the summer heat of his desegregation crisis in Robert Drew's 
Kennedy vs. Wallace: Debo keeps scrupulous files: highway builder Moses 
doesn't know how to drive. But we seldom see filmmakers using personal 
materials, say snapshots and memorabilia, to make points that generalize 
people's lives. Concern w ith the personal in these shows serves to buttress 
public achievements or document personality: Debo's disciplined work' 
habits help her maintain her productivity as a historian: Robert Kennedy 
brings his kids to his office. 

The only program in The American Experience list that ambitiously 
speculates about personal life. Sins of Our Mothers, asks what it means to 
be outcast, how an old woman exiled to a shack in a bog found food, whether 
she felt lonely. This is a broader range of questions than the details of 
character and personality that substitute for inquiry into private, subjective 
experience. Historians began to revise their views of the significance of the 
private sphere w hen they looked beyond political events to explain society. 
If we think about insights into the intersections of public and private 
concerns offered in Philip Aries' Centuries of Childhood. Peter Gay's 
Education of the Senses, or Katherine Kish Sklar's Catherine Beecher: A 
Study in American Domesticity, we may become disappointed w ith the 
narrow interpretations of private life offered in too many historical films. 
Could American Experience include something like Alan Berliner's Family 
Album — an unusual assemblage of home movies, found audio and inter- 
views — as a model of how to look closely at personal documentation to 
understand social life? 

Storytelling is another technique that Sins uses to bridge the gap between 
the personal and public spheres. Sins tells one girl's story without casting 
the central character. Emeline. Rather, she emerges through a Rashomon- 
like collection of testimonies fleshing out the legend surrounding her and 
the related historical issues. Listening to local historian Nettie Mitchell as 
the camera plays across her mottled, gnarled hands, we get a close first 
reading of Emeline's tale, warm and personal. Later, as the investigation 
deepens, we learn about the status of Emeline the child, who may be no 



22 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1989 



In the last decade, many filmmakers have 
presented provocative critiques of representa- 
tion, such as that of U.S. government and 
nuclear industry propaganda in Atomic Cafe, 
by Kevin Rafferty, Jayne Loader, and Pierce 

Rafferty. 

Courtesy filmmakers 








worse off leaving her impoverished family farm for 
work in the Lowell textile mills than being auctioned 
off as a pauper to work on another farm. We catch 
glimpses of the changing standard of sexuality that 
accompanied industrialization when we hear con- 
demnations of Emeline's pregnancy by a mill foreman 
followed by sympathy for her inexperience and vul- 
nerable situation. This approach lets the character of 
Emeline resonate with the contemporary codes of a 
New England town and with the way the twentieth 
century modified its outlook on the same questions. 

Hearts and Hands (Pat Ferrero) also mines the 
private sphere using a storytelling technique, although 
without a central character. In Ferrero's film quilts tell 
the stories. These artifacts of popular culture help us 
read women's involvement with the ante-bellum 
Underground Railroad in beautiful train track pat- 
terns, survivals of African customs in slave and freed- 
women's designs, and propaganda for the temperance 
movement expressed through blue and white "T" 
applique quilts. It is such creative readings of material 
artifacts that breathe life into narratives about the past, 
using visual evidence in conjunction with new forms 
of narration. 

Both methods — storytelling and anthropological 
interpretation of material culture — work from the inter- 
nal point of view of the subject. But how do visual 
historians introduce an element of public and social 
observation into their work? The technique of critical 
presentation of material opposing the film's perspec- 
tive has been one of the most provocative in the last decade of independent 
film and video work. When The Atomic Cafe (Kevin Rafferty, Pierce 
Rafferty, and Jayne Loader) invites us to an evening of government pro- 
nuclear public information films, we are engaged at a level that combines 
a critique of representation with one of the government and the nuclear 
lobby. When the ASHP culls images of street life in ante-bellum New York 
City, it does not leave us unprepared to analyze nineteenth-century repre- 
sentational codes of illustrated magazines. The filmmakers, for instance, 
dramatize the convention of simultaneous action in a picture — cutting from 
police face to firing guns to fallen striker. The anarchist chicken cartoon and 
its philology lesson on sabotage in The Wobblies (Deborah Shaffer and 
Stewart Bird) have become justifiably famous as an exemplary description 
of the war of ideas that left political movements waged with the mass media 
until the end of World War I. We not only gain a historical interpretation 
from these sequences, we join in the mental exercise of sifting historical evi- 
dence. 

Visual history requires a critique of representation, which can lead even 
a broad-based audience into interesting reflections on how what they see is 
supposed to prove a point. Two American Experience programs, Radio 
Bikini (Robert Stone) and The Radio Priest (Irv Drasnin), on Father Charles 
Coughlin, focus on how the media construed their subjects and thereby 
acknowledge the origins and status of the images the media produced. When 
Radio Bikini surveys the mountain of cameras and film aboard the destroyer 
approaching the Micronesian nuclear test site in 1946, we are ushered 




backstage to our government's intended mise-en-scene of history. When we 
look at 1930s footage of radio evangelist Father Coughlin high on a platform 
addressing cheering masses, we can instantly place this style of staging: 
except for his speaking English, we could be watching the crowd at a Nazi 
Party rally in Nuremberg. These two films demonstrate that visual history- 
need not acquiesce to the genealogy of media spectacle. Rather, the 
historical mode of representation itself attracts our critical attention. 

Tracking spatial relations, one of the camera's great fortes and underuti- 
lized as a method of analysis, is another tack that promises much for visual 
history projects. The American Experience's opening program. The Great 
San Francisco Earthquake (Tom Weidlinger), for example, contains some 
wonderful material, but its narration often ignores what is most compelling 
in these images. While the commentary highlights rapid growth, big 
disaster, and rapid recovery, the images of the smoking ruins and city 
skeleton suggest a rich story of class relations. Although some of the 
comments in the script note ethnic and class patterns of San Francisco, there 
is another story to be read in Weidlinger's compilation. How close were 
buildings to one another? Who lived in what neighborhood? Were shops and 
apartments mixed? Did every house have indoor water, a stable? 

Likewise, the transformation of a city scape discussed in The World That 
Moses Built is a subject that could knock the socks off urban geographers. 
Instead, we are not even given a comprehensive overview of New York City 
before and after the reign of Moses, showing how the highway belts he built 
functioned, how his parks and recreation projects enforced ghetto bounda- 



MARCH 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 23 




The Radio Priest, by Irv Drasnin, focuses on how 
the media construed their subject — Father 
Charles Coughlin, the controversial, ultra-rightist 
Depression-era priest and radio personality. 



ries. and other tidbits tantalizingly mentioned in the text but uncharted in the 
pictures. Shots of ethnic street life suggest that slum clearance undermined 
the life of the city, but the filmmakers never edit together a picture of social 
relations in the city — although twentieth-century records of New York 
offers abundant materials. 

By contrast. Paterson, a modest film recently completed by Kevin 
Duggan. sketches a much more complex texture of place. Paterson, New 
Jersej . is a crumbling industrial town, a former textile giant and a dump at 
the edge of Route 1 and 9. where even tractor trailers decline to exit. But 
Paterson is also the site of the precipitous Passaic Falls and an amazing 
lattice of bridges across millraces. The film deals with work in a specific 
city: it's half city portrait, half dramatic chronicle of attitudes about work. 
Paterson*s scan of spatial contexts visualizes much of what we hear in dia- 
logue from the discouraged young w ord-processors w ho report to the city's 
only high-rise each morning. Landscape is made intelligible and intelligent 
in this film through the attention to how human activity unfolds in specific 
places. 

Paterson's most famous poet William Carlos Williams wrote, "no ideas 
but in things." Localism, intimacy, and detailed observations make visual 
social history convincing, as programs in The American Experience do at 
their best. But the series' promotion promising a glimpse of "exploring the 
national psyche," "building a free society." "connecting private and public 
spheres." and delineating a "civic religion" tends to dissolve tasty details in 



Photo Notional Archives 



For The Great San Francisco Earthquake, 
filmmaker Tom Weidlinger discovered some 
fascinating archival footage from this period of 
the city's history. 

Photo San Francisco Eorthquake Research Project 



the same glutinous pluralism of the melting pot that 
has long obscured the distinctiveness of Americans' 
experiences. PBS' "burden of state" — creating a na- 
tional identity through presentation of typical Ameri- 
can images of the past — runs counter to the social 
history perspective underlying much of what is actu- 
ally shown in the series. This mythic identity shows 
strain when the series' host addresses an audience that 
is presumed to need persuasion to stay tuned to the ex- 
perience of "others." Couldn't the viewers be these ex- 
cluded others or their children? 

Integration of groups previously ignored into the 
American past is a delicate operation. It is tricky 
indeed to run an image track of society's disenfran- 
chised, while simultaneously implying that the hith- 
erto marginals can be incorporated in a national iden- 
tity founded on the consciousness of the fully fran- 
chised. Often the most telling visual points made in 
individual shows work directly against the overall 
emphasis on assimilation, in which — finally — every 
ethnicity gets screen time to demonstrate its contribu- 
tion to the American whole. The discomfort stems 
from the realization that American Experience re- 
mains mired willy-nilly in assumptions that adapta- 
tion is a one-way street. The excluded get their turn 
when their period of exclusion is placed far enough in 
the past to make sure they enter the mainstream on the 
mainstream's terms. This is the problem with the myth 
of national identity which seems to justify the series' 
generous funding and primetime slot. If American 
Experience can forsake its mission to create a homogeneous myth of 
national identity, it can draw on the talents of a rising generation of film- and 
videomakers to capture all the local detail that makes social history exciting. 
If not, it risks making the least of its undiscovered subjects and the promise 
of new visual history. 

Kathleen Hulser writes cultural criticism. 

Z 1989 Kathleen Hulser 



Additional Readings 

Breitbart. Eric. "From the Panorama to the Docudrama: Notes on the Visualization 
of History." Radical History Review, No. 24 ( 1981 ). pp. 1 15-125. 

Brown. Joshua. "Visualizing the Ninetheenth Century: Notes on Making Social 
History Documentary Film," Radical History Review, No. 38 (1987). pp. 1 14-125. 

Michel, Sonya, "Feminism. Film and Public History," Radical History Review. No. 
25(1981). pp. 47-61. 

Novick, Peter. That Noble Dream: The "Objectivity Question" and the American 
Historical Profession (New York: Cambridge University Press. 1988). 

Rapping. Elayne. The Looking Glass World of Nonaction T\ (Boston: South End 
Press. 1987): see. especially, chapter 7. "National Rituals: History as It Happens." 



24 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1989 



U FESTIVALS 

VIDEO NOUVEAU: THE MONTBEUARD 
VIDEO AND TELEVISION FESTIVAL 




Amy Taubin 



In its on-going quest for legitimization, the 20- 
year-old (i.e., relatively fledgling) field of U.S. 
independent video has responded eagerly to the 
attentions paid it by European programmers and 
festivals. While the only large video festival in the 
U.S. has been the American Film Institute's Na- 
tional Video Festival in Los Angeles (which, 
having lost its Sony funding, has been forced to 
limit its publicity, thus whittling its audience 
considerably), Europe boasts dozens, the most 
prestigious being the Montbeliard International 



Video and Television Festival in France and the 
World Wide Video Festival in the Netherlands. 
For many years, these festivals were language 
phobic. Their "talent scouts," who annually ap- 
peared at the Kitchen or Electronic Arts Intermix 
in New York City, were interested only in work 
that spoke what they saw as an international 
language of visual images. That their bias was a 
function of their limited knowledge of English is 
understandable. That they were, to the man (for 
men they were, almost without exception) far too 
arrogant to admit that this was the case is not. At 
any rate, long before there was MTV or Alive from 
Off Center to encourage video art down the con- 



Pete Lee Wilson appears in 
Jonnie Turpie's feature-length 
rock musical about youth, 
race relations, and tele- 
communications, Out of Order. 
Screened at the Montbeliard 
International Video and 
Television Festival in western 
France, the work was 
produced by the Birmingham 
Film/Video Workshop in 
association with the British Film 
Institute and Channel Four. 

Photo: John Sturrock, courtesy filmmakers 



tentless path, there was the lure of the European 
festival circuit. 

About two years ago, the tide began to shift. In 
part, this was thanks to an increased fascination on 
the part of European intellectuals with the third 
world — countries in which state-of-the-art elec- 
tronic art facilities were conspicuously lacking, 
and where the relationship between politics and 
cultural production is eye-catchingly clear. It was 
also apparent that, despite the on-going develop- 
ment of video postproduction technology, interest 
in electronic image processing and "visual hum- 
ming" had run out. One of the 1988 prize winners 
at World Wide was Rain (La Pluie), an hour-long 
narrative about daily life in a small Mozambique 
village, threatened by drought and under constant 
guerilla attack by forces of the South African 
apartheid regime. Directed by Licinio Azevedo 
and Brigitte Bagnol, Rain was coproduced by the 
Mozambique National Film Institute and the 
Montbeliard Cultural Activity Center. It also 
showed up in the "information" section of the 
1988 Montbeliard Festival. 

Montbeliard is a small town (population: 
30,000) in the west of France, totally dominated, 
as is the surrounding region, by the Peugeot auto 
industry. As part of a move to decentralize cul- 
tural activities beyond the Paris city limits, seven 
years ago the government funded the Montbeliard 
International Video Festival. A year-round opera- 
tion with some very slight relationship to the local 
television station, it produces, at two year inter- 
vals, a week-long festival geared to the interna- 
tional independent video "community," in which 



MARCH 1989 



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the local population lakes absolutely no interest — 
except insofar as it promotes tourism. The 1982 
and 1984 festivals, dominated by the presence on 
the organizing committee of French video theore- 
tician Jean-Paul Fargier, who writes for Cahiers 
du Cinema, were video art oriented. But since 
Fargier's departure in 1985. the festival has be- 
come more concerned with television, "Canal 
Plus" has replaced "signifier/signified" as the 
operative buzz phrase. Director Pierre Bongio- 
\anni describes the festival as a "dream of 
television... a way of criticizing the current state 
of television production and introducing a fantasy 
of its future." 

The festival, whose theme in 1988 was "Ethics 
and Television." was divided into several sec- 
tions: a competition: an international survey that 
included extremely interesting programs from 
Canada (a retrospective of documentaries by 
Robert Morin and a group show curated by Morin), 
two programs from the U.S. (one curated by 
Daniel Minahan from the Kitchen and the otherby 
Dan Walworth from Artists Space, who selected 
a group of South Korean tapes), as well as pro- 
grams from Brazil. Australia, and many Western 
European countries; an anthropology and current 
affairs program; an education sector; four video 
installations and three multi-media performances; 
and related panel discussions. The tensions be- 
tween the more parochial, art-oriented competi- 
tion and the politically conscious, eclectic infor- 
mational section came to a head when the festi- 
val's daily journal reported that French video 
artist and competition juror Robert Cahen ob- 
jected to the special award given to Robert Morin 
on the grounds that Morin's work was too "film 
derivative." 

Projectors and monitors in the seven screening 
rooms were switched on at 9 a.m. and ran continu- 
ously until just before midnight. (In general, the 
screenings were well-organized and technically 
of high quality.) In addition to the regularly sched- 
uled programs, several hundred tapes were avail- 
able at the library on request — in the majority 
were competition rejects, some were far more 
interesting than most of the prize winners. With 
such abundance, everyone channel-switches with 
abandon, and ends up with a festival of her/his 
own devising. In addition to the aforementioned 
Morin retro and Rain (produced by festival organ- 
izer Michel Bongiovanni, who is also a prime 
mover behind Euroaim — the organization of Euro- 
pean independents currently involved in generat- 
ing an international database of independent pro- 
duction), the most compelling pieces I saw were 
Rotraut Pape's Mutter, Yater 1st Tot (an ironic, 
compact treatment of a Dallas scenario, produced 
with the German group M. Raskin Stichting) and 
Pape's scream-of-outrage be Gran Batard (pro- 
duced with the French group Frigo): Jonnie 
Turpie's Out of Order (an exuberant feature- 
length rock musical about youth, race relations, 
and telecommunications, set in Birmingham, 
England and made with the Channel Four funded 



Birmingham Workshop); and, in the U.S. selec- 
tions, Julie Zando's Hey Bud and Jem Cohen's 
This Is the History of New York. 

Guests of the festival — producers of tapes in 
the competition, curators of informational shows, 
panelists, judges, and critics — are treated ex- 
tremely hospitably. The festival provides not only 
transportation and accommodations but what the 
U.S. contingent jovially referred to as food 
stamps — in sufficient quantities to see one through 
lunch and most of dinner in a variety of informal, 
mostly very good, restaurants. 

For anyone who's interested, the grand prize 
went to the Belgian tape Entre Deux Tours (Be- 
tween Two Towers), by Rob Rombout, a tastefully 
serious 15-minute narrative with some discreet 
electronic effects, formally reminiscent of early 
Alain Resnais. With the exception of Out of Or- 
der, the four big winners and the nine runner-ups 
all signaled their commitment to high art via their 
oppressive electronic mood music tracks. It may 
or may not be significant that none of the U.S. 
tapes in competition took a prize. 

Amy Taubin writes on film and television for the 
Village Voice 



UNICA: 

FIVE DECADES 
OF A UNIQUE 
FESTIVAL 

Joaquin "Kino" Garcia 



What is amateur film- or videomaking? What is 
professional? To most of us in the American 
hemisphere — North. South, Central, and Carib- 
bean — amateur film- or videomaking is associ- 
ated with home movies, complete with various 
technical faults and inadequate knowledge about 
visual languages. "Amateur" is also usually asso- 
ciated with the size of the film or video stock — as 
in "amateur" formats like 8mm film or tape vs. 
"professional" formats such as 1 6mm film or one- 
inch videotape. Then there's a second factor in 
this discussion, related to economics. Those who 
work regularly and manage to earn a living as 
film/videomakers are considered "professionals." 
even though this definition excludes many inde- 
pendent film- and videomakers who need to work 
at many odd jobs (like in Puerto Rico) or freelance 
to make a living. 

In Europe, however, the word "amateur" has 
acquired new meanings, and the amateur move- 
ment has produced excellent films and tapes as 
well as a pool of talented film/videomakers. This 
was made especially clear at the fiftieth film 



26 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1989 



festival of the International Union of Non-Profes- 
sional Cinema, held last year in Zagreb, Yugosla- 
via, from September 23 to October 2, where 134 
films from 21 countries were screened. In this 
context, amateur works are placed in the traditions 
of art, experimental, testimonial, and alternative 
films made by auteurs, as opposed to the produc- 
tions of powerful institutions like commercial 
television and the major film studios. Neverthe- 
less, many of the films seen at the UNICA festival 
could certainly be marketed in the U.S. as com- 
mercial productions, aside from the language 
barriers they would encounter here. 

What UNICA offers is independent, noncom- 
mercial film/video productions varied in genre 
and style. As in any festival with such catholic 
selection practices, this year"s event featured films 
and tapes ranging in quality from awful to excel- 
lent. Particularly interesting to me were the stylis- 
tic and thematic trends exhibited in different na- 
tional programs from five geographic categories: 
Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Soviet Union, 
Yugoslavia, and America (Puerto Rico and Ar- 
gentina). 

During a conversation at the festival, Argentin- 
ian delegate Carlos Zanarini commented that in 
over 1,000 years of history Western Europe has 
solved some of its most urgent social problems. It 
is truly the "old world" — tired, looking inward as 
if engaged in meditation — which is reflected in 
films that are aesthetically accomplished but lack- 
ing in substantial content and thematic depth. To 
a certain extent, I agree with his assessment. The 
films we watched from countries such as Austria, 
Switzerland, Finland, France, and West Germany, 
among others, were indeed visually beautiful, but 
in the majority of cases shallow. Documentaries 
and light fiction works abounded, whereas experi- 
mental and avant-garde works were largely ab- 
sent in the programs representing these countries. 

Of these, some of the most impressive were Im 
Zeichen des Mondes ( Under the Sign of the Moon) 
and Magic Don't Deny from Austria and Execu- 
tion a la Lettre (Execution by Letter) and Sur la 
Malediction de I'Or (The Curse of Gold) from 
Switzerland, which features elegant and effective 
photography as well as an engaging narrative 
about gold miners in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Avon- 
tour (Adventure), an animated film from Holland; 
A Yellow Cat Is a Fellow Cat, made in Sweden; 
Eaux Melees and Des Gouts et des Couleurs from 
France. Wanzen (Bugs), which employs superb 
macro-photographic techniques, andMalum(Evil), 
a short mystery fiction film with superb acting and 
special effects from West Germany, were also 
outstanding entries. All these works were consid- 
ered for medals. 

The Eastern European films screened at the 
festival, mostly shot in 1 6mm, were generally dull 
and technically inferior compared to their West- 
ern European counterparts. I expected better, 
considering the resources for this type of film 
production available in many of these countries. 
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The fiftieth festival of the 
International Union of 
Non-Professional 
Cinema, UNICA, held in 
Zagreb, Yugoslavia, 
provoked a much- 
needed reexamination 
of the definitions of 
amateur and profes- 
sional filmmaking. 

Photo Kino Garcia 



mentar\ Riigensage ( The Legend ofRugen ) from 
East Germany, along with the Polish Remuh. were 
exceptions. The stunning black and w hite photog- 
raphy in Remuh complemented the film's meta- 
phor for life: a train in movement occupied only 
by an old lady. The style brought to mind some of 
the best suspense films. Incredibly. Remuh wasn't 
considered for a medal. 

All except one of the eight Soviet films shown 
at the 1988 UNICA festival carried a political 
protest message — perhaps reflecting the compo- 
sition of the festival delegation that included 
Estonians. Armenians, and Ukranians. as well as 
Russians. Their presence in Yugoslavia exempli- 
fied some of the changes brought about by the 
policies of perestroika and glasnost. Although I 
found all of the Soviet selections worthwhile, the 
three strongest were Man in a Boat, by Laury 
Aasn.Hu: Conductors, by Erevan (which won a 
silver medal): and Syndrom-K (awarded a silver 
medal in the youth category). Conductors, about 
orchestra leaders, closely adheres to Eisenstein's 
theories of editing: the construction of meaning 
through dialectical film language, a confrontation 
of images that exposes the contradictions and 
conflicts of political forces. The cinema-verite 
style of this film further adds spontaneity and 
freshness. Straddling the line dividing dramatic 
narrative from experimental film. Man in a Boat 
presents an unorthodox, visually exquisite rendi- 
tion of the story of a rural Estonian boy's adoles- 
cence. Like Conductors, protest against the pow er 
held by political leaders informs the clay anima- 
tion film Syndrom-K. 

The film- and videomakers from Yugoslavia, 
the festival's host country, demonstrated a clear 
preference for the experimental and avant-garde. 
In a discussion of film theory. Yugoslav film- 
makers identified another category in addition to 
these — what they call "alternative." or "anti-film." 
although the distinction seems difficult to main- 
tain. In this context, experimentation is defined in 
accordance with North American models or 
schools, with bows to Norman McLaren. The 
sheer quantity of experimental films made and 
preserved since the 1920s in this country alone is 



remarkable. Within this large category there is a 
predilection for animation. Still, the Yugoslav 
selection was generally unimpressive. One film 
worth mentioning is Darko Predanic's Gorka Lika 
{Bitter Street), an accomplished animated piece 
dealing with the bitter aspects of life. Another is 
Off. by Radoslav Pivac — the winner of a bronze 
medal in the avant-garde category — a two-part 
short story that takes place at a site where a 
romantic film is being shot and where a real 
romance between an actress and a director occurs. 
The camera remains static throughout. A black 
area at times obscures the center of the frame and. 
at other times, covers the edges of the frame — the 
area meant to designate off-camera space. 

The work sent to the UNICA festival from 
America, represented by Puerto Rico and Argen- 
tina, exhibited the main elements of noncommer- 
cial film production in Latin American countries: 
the importance given to content and its ideologi- 
cal character over formal and technical questions. 
Latin Americans frequently have a social agenda, 
a historical project that is reflected in many of our 
films. That is the case with the Argentinian entry 
that won a gold medal. Ruben Estre|la's Corazon 
de Tango (Tango Heart). The eight-minute film 
communicates all the nostalgia and profound feel- 
ings associated with tango, a music style born in 
the poor neighborhoods of Argentina. Estrella op- 
erates a small production company that makes ad- 
vertising films, which explains the high produc- 
tion standards evident in his film: well-executed 
sound, choreography, acting, camerawork, and 
editing. Other Argentinian films also demonstrated 
why filmmaking in this country has achieved so 
much in the last five years. We can expect much 
from some of these young filmmakers in the years 
to come. Collectively, this work won the gold 
medal for the best national selection and garnered 
one bronze, two silver, and three gold medals. 

Puerto Rico has been a member of UNICA for 
three years and won its first medal (bronze) with 
Luis Rodriguez-Munet 's experimental film Uo/i.s 
by Munet. Puerto Rico's second entry was the 
documentary El Brigadista. about a group of 
Puerto Ricans who volunteer to work in a coffee 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1989 



farm in Nicaragua as part of that country's recon- 
struction effort. 

What about the future of alternative, "nonpro- 
fessional" filmmaking? There are several factors 
that will affect this activity in the near future, 
among them developments in video, other tech- 
nologies, and related resources, particularly in a 
world where the costs of production have risen 
steeply. Then again, there's the question of what's 
professional and what's amateur — an issue in the 
foreground at this festival. Clearly, the definitions 
and concepts governing this distinction will have 
to change. It seems relevant and important to take 
note of different solutions being forged to amelio- 
rate technical problems — such as the incompati- 
bility of video systems from country to country. 
One such advance has been the proliferation of 
VHS, now more or less an international standard. 
VHS cassettes are extremely portable and the 
large-screen projector systems used at UNICA 
demonstrated that this system can provide clear, 
sharp high-resolution images. 

Amid these global developments and debates, 
the absence of the United States and other Ameri- 
can countries with strong independent, noncom- 
mercial media traditions, such as Venezuela and 
Canada, is especially unfortunate. Interactions 
among the diverse film and video cultures repre- 
sented within UNICA would likewise be enriched 
by the participation of these countries. Both those 
belonging to the organization and those outside it 
are deprived because of this lack of participation. 
This — like the inferior status associated with the 
concept of the amateur — is something UNICA 
would like to change. 

Joaquin "Kino" Garcia is a filmmaker, freelance 
photographer, and writer from Puerto Rico. He is 
the author of A Brief History of the Puertorican 
Cinema. 



IN BRIEF 



This month's festivals have been 
compiled by Kathryn Bowser, direc- 
tor of the FIVF Festival Bureau. Listings 
do not constitute an endorsement & 
since some detailschangefasterthan 
we do, we recommend that you 
contact the festival for further infor- 
mation before sending prints ortapes. 
If your experience differs from our 
account, please let us know so we 
can improve our reliability. 



Domestic 

Ampas and Academy Foundation Student Film 
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MARCH 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 29 



relationship. $2000 outstanding achievement awards in 
cats of animation, documentary, dramatic, experimen- 
tal; up to 2 addi'l SKKK) merit award* in these cats. 
Work must ho under 60 nuns Judging done h> regional 
coordinators & submitted to Academy. Format: 35mm, 
16mm. Deadline: earl) April Regions: 1 1 MV NH, VT, 
MA, Rl. CI i Ben Levin, Div of Mass Communica- 
tion, Emerson College. UK) Beacon St., Boston. MA 
02116: (617 - J-8832 U (NJ, PA, DE, MD, DC, OH, 
V \. \\\ . KY): Fred Goldman. Middle Atlantic Film 
Board. 2338 Perot St., Philadelphia. PA 14130; (215) 
978-4700; 111 (NY, PR): Daniel Glick, Brooklyn Col- 
lege Film Dept . Bedford Ave.& A\ e. H. Brooklyn, N Y 
II210:(718)780-5664;IV(NC,SC,TN,AR,GA,AL, 
FL, M.S. LA, OK. TX, CO, NM, UT, AZi: Michael 
Cohn. Dept of Radio-TV-Film. CM A 6.118, Univ. of 
Texas, Austin. TX 78712-1091: (512) 471-4071; V 
(Ml. IN. WI, MS. IL. 1A. ND. SD. NE. KS. MO): Dan 
Ladely, Sheldon Film Theater. Univ. of Nebraska. 
Lincoln. NE 68588; (402)472-5353: VI | MT. \VY. ID. 
NY.AK.W A. OR. North CA): Bill Foster/Leslie Young. 
N\\ Film Studj Ctr.. Ponland Art Assoc.. 1219 SW 
Park. Portland. OR 97205; i: 503 I 22 1-1 156: Ml (South 
CA, HI i: Donald J. Zirpola. Communication Arts Dept.. 
Loyola Marymount Univ.. Lovola Blvd at W. 80 St.. 
Los Angeles. CA 90045: (213) 642-3033. 

Asian American International Film Festival, June, 

NY. Considered a premiere showcases for Asian & 
Asian American cinema in the US. annual noncompeti- 
tive fest. now in 12th vr. draws capacity crowds & 
extensive media coverage. Open to works by estab- 
lished &. emerging filmmakers of Asian & Asian 
American heritage: several filmmakers have premiered 
their work here. Features & shorts in all cats (experi- 
mental, animation, doc. narrative, performance pieces 
&. adaptations) accepted. No entry fee. Fest goes on 5- 
mo. int"l tour after NY opening. Format: 35mm. 16mm. 
Deadline: Mar. 3 1 . Contact: exhibition director. AAIFF. 
Asian CineVision. 32 E. Broadway. New York. NY 
10002: (212) 925-8685. 

MouNTAtNFiLM, Mav 26-29. CO. "Celebration of 
mountain-inspired film art." in Telluride in Rocky 
Mountains, now in 1 1th yr. Last yr featured 24 pro- 
grams from 9 countries, along w/ 1 5 filmmakers who at- 
tended w/ work. Fest provides accommodations, some 
meals & passes for participating filmmakers. Competi- 
tion: completed in last decade, dealing w/ themes of 
mountains, mountaineering, exploration & interpreta- 
tion of w ild places. Awards for best films on mountain 
spirit, mountaineering, technical climbing & mountain 
sports; special jury award & grand prize. Features & 
shorts accepted. Besides competition, cats incl.: gen- 
eral/historical interest (by invitation), works in prog- 
ress, slide/multi-media programs, video, other pro- 
grams selected b) organizing committee. No entry fee. 
Format: 35mm. 16mm. Deadline: Apr. 30. Contact: 
Mountainfilm, Box 1088/540 W. Galena Ave.. Tellu- 
ride. CO 81435: (303) 728-4123. 

San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film 
Festival. June 16-25. CA. San Francisco's Lesbian/ 
Ga> Freedom Celebration is setting for competitive fest 
of works bv & about lesbians & gay men. now in 13th 
yr & one of the largest of its kind. Feature, documen- 
tary . shorts <fc \ ideos programmed & awards presented 
in several cats. Last vr audiences at landmark Castro 
Theatre & Roxie Cinema topped 20.000. No entrv fee. 
Formats: 35mm. 16mm. super 8. 3/4", 1/2". Deadline: 
Mar. 31. Contact: Frameline. Box 14792. San Fran- 
cisco. CA 941 14: (415) 861-5245. 



Sinking Creek Film & Video Festival. June 10-17, 
l\ Now celebrating 20th anm\. as one of the South's 
leading showcases for ind. & student productions, 
competitive "celebration" expanded last yr to include 
video. Awards totalling S7500 given to winning entries 
in cats of young film/v ideomaker (to age 18). college 
film/videomaker. ind. film/videomaker. Special awards 
incl. Hubley Animation Award (S100). 2 $500 awards 
for feature works of special merit & 2 awards of $150 
for excellence in doc & experimental work, 2 purchase 
awards. Approx. 60 films/videos shown, along w/ 
workshops/seminars (this yr forum on state of inde- 
pendent cinema) & guest programs. Held on campus of 
Vanderbilt Univ. in Nashville. Entry fees: $12-75. 
based on length. Format: 16mm. 3/4". Deadline: Apr. 
14 (features over 60 mins. & videos): Apr. 21 (work 
under 60 mins.). Contact: Mary Jane Coleman, Sinking 
Creek. Creekside Farm. 1250 Old Shiloh Rd.. Box 
1056. Greeneville, TN 37744; (615) 638-6524. 

Slice of Life Film & Video Show case. July 1 4- 1 6, PA. 
Held in conjunction w/ Central Pennsylvania Festival 
of Arts. 7th annual edition of int'l fest seeks experimen- 
tal & doc films & videos under 30 mins that "depict the 
unique performances of every day life — those moments 
of truth &. beautv which would otherwise go unrecog- 
nized." A ward-winning artists receive cash award, travel 
stipend & 2 nights accommodations at fest. Entry fee: 
$15. Format: 16mm. 3/4". Deadline: Apr. 3. Contact: 
Documentary Resource Center, attn: Pat Morrissey. 
106 Boalsburg Pike. Box 909. Lemont. PA 16851. 

Slffolk County Film & Video Festival. June. NY. 
6th annual competitive fest for works completed after 
1980. w/ cats of arts & entertainment, sales & market- 
ing, documentary & student. Program comprises public 
screenings & cable broadcast: w inners & finalists may 
be selected for PBS series Off-Hollywood on WLIW- 
21. Awards: S7000 in cash, scholarships & equipment. 
Entrv fees: S50-75 professional: S25 student. Format: 
35mm. 16mm. super 8. 3/4". 1/2". Deadline: May 1. 
Contact: Suffolk County Film & Video Festival. Den- 
nison Bldg.. 11th FL. Veterans Memorial Highway, 
Hauppauge. NY 1 1788; (516) 360-4800. 

Works by Women Film & Video Festival. October. 
NY. Anv film or video directed by a woman eligible for 
consideration by 13th edition of noncompetitive fest. 
Full-length & short works of all styles & genres in- 
cluded: all selections paid rental fee. Several film/ 
videomakers invited to attend & lead discussions. 
Approx. 15 films/videos presented. No entry fee. For- 
mat: 16mm, 3/4". Deadline: Apr. 30. Contact: Christina 
Bickford. Dept. of Media Services. Barnard College. 
Columbia Univ.. 3009 Broadway. New York. NY 
10027-6598; (212) 854-2418. 



Foreign 



Banff Television Festival. June. Canada. 10th anniv. 
of int'l competitive event for TV films & programs. 
Also provides TV professionals w/ seminars, panel 
discussions & on-demand screenings. Competition 
accepts films & programs in cats of TV features, limited 
series, continuing series, drama specials. TV comedies, 
social/political docs, popular science programs, art 
docs, performance specials & children's programs. 
Entries must have been made for TV, 1st broadcast 
between April 2. 1988 & April 1. 1989. $5000 CDN 
Grand Prize aw arded to best of fest. along w/ 2 S2500 
CDN special awards. Rockies also awarded. Format: 3/ 
4". Entry fee: SI 50. Deadline: Apr. 1. Contact: Banff 



Television Festival. St. Julien Rd.. Box 1020. Banff. 
Alberta. Canada, TOL 0C0; tel: (403) 762-3060; telex: 
(03) 822804 TV FEST BNF. 

FIFARC: International Film Festival on Architec 

TL RF URBAN1SM& URBAN ENVIRONMENT Nov. 29-DeC 

2. France. General [heme of biennial fest is architecture 
& urban environment, but encompasses films dealing 
w/ urban social issues, e.g. Competitive, fest w/ special 
sections: "images of the working place" (especially 
interested in films from independent point of view) & 
"images of the city at the local level." In 1987. 320 films 
from 60 countries presented (76 in competition) to 
audiences of 22.000. Work must be completed after 
Jan. 1987. Full length features, shorts, docs & video 
accepted. Formats: 35mm. 16mm. 3/4"; fest will trans- 
fer entries to PAL & return both to NY. US rep Sylvie 
Thouard may be contacted for forms & info at 189 
Thompson St..#16G. New York, NY 10012; (21 2)254- 
2857: before U.S. deadline of May 1 . She will preselect 
films to be sent to France via diplomatic pouch for final 
choice by selection committee. Deadline in France: 
June 1. Address in France: Entrepot Laine. 3, rue 
Ferrere. B.P. 85. 33024 Bordeaux Cedex. France; tel: 
56.52.97.99. 

Hamburg No Budget Short Film Festival. May 25- 
28, W. Germany. As "forum for young film talent," fest 
aims to develop audiences for film produced at ex- 
tremely low cost. Competition shows short films & 
videos together: work which has received institutional 
support not admitted. Noncompetitive "Steppin" Out" 
section for w ork above "no-budget" level or recipient of 
institutional support. Special competition "Three Min- 
ute Quicky" for "films/videos w/ pep," maximum length 
3 mins. theme: "fish." One panorama program will be 
for new English & US works. Format: 35mm. 16mm. 
super 8. video 8. 3/4". 1/2". DM20 rental fee paid for ea. 
screened entry. Deadline: Mar. 3 1 . Contact: LAG FILM 
Hamburg e.V., No-Budget-BuTo. Glasshuttenstr. 27, 
D-2000 Hamburg 36. W. Germany: tel: (040) 439- 
2710. 

Midnight Sun Film Festival. June 14-18. Finland. 4th 
edition of feature film fest held in Sodankyla, Lapland, 
Finland, 80 mi. north of the Arctic Circle, held during 
season of perpetual daylight (films screened 24 hrs/ 
day). Noncompetitive, w/ no special rules or regula- 
tions, "arranged by filmmakers & enthusiasts w/ sole 
purpose of showing the best of films & creating a 
unique, friendly atmosphere for filmmakers & film 
lovers to meet." 40-50 features screened, w/ program 
consisting of selection of new films (directors invited), 
retrospectives of "masters" who attend as honorary 
guests, special screenings & old & new Finnish films. 
Screenings held in cinema, school gym & circus tent, w/ 
simultaneous Finnish translation. Film enthusiasts come 
from throughout country. Several US features played 
ea. yr. Format: 35mm; preview on cassette. Contact: 
Erkki Astala. executive director. Midnight Sun Film 
Festival. Vainamoisenkatu 1 9 A 4. SF-00 1 00 Helsinki. 
Finland: tel: (358) 498 366: fax: (358) 498 661: 
telex: 1 25032 sesfi sf. 

Sydney Film Festival. June. Australia. Now celebrat- 
ing 36th yr, 1 of Australia's premiere film events, w/ 
program encompassing features, shorts, docs & retros. 
Past programs incl. substantial number of US independ- 
ent films. Noncompetitive fest well-attended by most 
Australian distribs & TV buyers & has loyal & enthu- 
siastic local audience. Entries must be Australian pre- 
mieres completed in previous yr: all lengths, subjects, 
styles & genres considered. Entry fee: Format: 35mm. 



30 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1989 



16mm. Deadline: Apr. 1. Contact: Paul Byrnes, Sydney 
Film Festival, Box 25, Glebe, NSW. Australia 2037; 
tel: 660-3844; telex: AA75111. 

Tokyo International Film Festival/Young Cinema. 
Sept. 29-Oct. 8, Japan. 3rd edition of fast growing 
biennial fest will incl. major int'l feature film competi- 
tion for 16 films, awarding Grand Prix, special jury 
prize & awards to best director, actress, actor, artistic 
contribution & screenplay; Young Cinema, in which 14 
feature works by young directors vie for large cash 
awards (last yr, Sakura Gold & Silver Prizes w/ ¥20- 
million & ¥10-million): invitational screenings of 
"uniquely significant" feature films; Japanese Cinema 
of Yesterday & Today section; an Asia- ASEAN fest & 
symposiums & seminars. Fest wants to be largest in 
Asia (along lines of Cannes, Venice & Berlin) & 
operates w/ substantial budget. Deadline for Young 
Cinema: Apr. 30. Contact: Organizing Committee, 
Tokyo International Film Festival, Asano No. 3 Bldg, 
2-4-19 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo. 104 Japan; tel: (03) 
563-6305; telex: J34548; fax: (03) 563-6310. 

Trento International Festival of Mountain, Ex- 
ploration & Adventure Films, May 28-June 3, Italy. 
Competitive fest offering prizes of L. 3-million ea. in 
cats of mountains, exploration, adventure, sport & 
video, as well as grand prize of L. 10-million & prizes 
of L. 5 million ea. to best fiction & documentary films. 
All films shown in competition receive certificate of 
participation. Work must be completed before 1986. 
Also shows films out of competition & in info section. 
Films must not show violence against people or envi- 
ronment. For feature fiction films, fest may help pay for 
Italian subtitling. Format: 35mm, 16mm. 3/4", 1/2". 
Deadline: Apr. 15. Contact: Filmfestival Internazionale 
Montagna Esplorazione Avventura, Via S. Croce, 67, 
Centra S. Chiara, Trento, Italy; tel: (046 1 ) 986 1 20; fax: 
(0461) 37832. 

Troia International Film Festival, June 15-27, Por- 
tugal. 1 of 3 major film events in Portugal, fest, now in 
5th yr, held at holiday resort of Costa Azul on Portu- 
guese coast. Competitive sections: "Free" for feature 
length fiction films & "Man & Nature" for documen- 
tary & full, medium-length & short films stressing 
importance of harmonious relationship between people 
& environment. Work must be Portuguese premiere, 
not awarded in other major fests. Awards: Grand Prizes 
of Gold, Silver & Bronze Dolphin. (Competitive sec- 
tions only accept films from countries producing less 
than 25 films/yr). Info section incl. major films & 
collective retrospectives. Events incl. film market & 
symposium for TV coproductions. Fest attended by 
over 200 journalists, critics, film professionals & in- 
vited guests. US films shown during "American Film 
Day," which will also feature panel of US producers. 
Format: 35mm, 16mm. Deadline: Apr. 30. U.S. contact 
Thomas de la Cal, 50 E. 63rd St., #10D, New York, NY 
10021; (212) 421-3099. Address in Portugal: Salvato 
Menezes, program director. Festival de Cinema de 
Troia, 2902 Setiibal Codex, Troia, Portugal; tel: (65) 
44121; telex: 18 138 Troiam P; fax: 44162. 



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MARCH 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 31 



IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 




Renee Tajima 



All the Lo\ e ( Todo el Amor) is a new. 30-minute 
video portrait of Sah adoran guerillas who were 
disabled in the war and evacuated to Cuba for 
treatment and rehabilitation. Produced on credit 
and faith, videomakers from the New York-based 
El Salvador Media Project shot with Betacam and 
video 8. following the men and women combat- 
ants from the battlefronts to rehabilitation centers. 
The story is based on the testimonies of these 
veterans of the civil w ar in El Salvador, who speak 
frankly of their experiences and their hopes for the 
country's future. Executed on a minimum budget, 
the production was logistically complex. The 
camera crew never met with their U.S. -based 
editors and coproducers. Combat scenes were 
shot on super 8. and the interviews were shot in 
video. The makers use the dual formats as an 
aesthetic device — super 8 film-to-tape transfers 
illustrate the past, while video is used to document 
the present. All the Love has screened at the 
Museum of Modem An and received a 1988 
Award of Merit from the Latin American Studies 
Association. All the Love: El Salvador Media 
Project. 335 W. 38th St.. 5th EL, New York. NY 
10018: (212) 714-91 18. 

A Quilting of Hearts does not take a dispas- 
sionate approach to the issue of AIDS. Instead of 
focusing on media or legal issues, producers Scott 
Auerbach. Lon Holmber°. and Keith McManus 



follow the everyday lives of several PLWAs 
(people living w ith AIDS ) to look at the humanity 
that emerges in the face of the disease. Five sub- 
jects were photographed during the course of a 
year, allowing their stories to unfold without 
scripting or an instrusive narrator. Through day- 
to-day acts of courage and conviction, the produc- 
ers hope to dispel the fear surrounding AIDS and 
encourage an intelligent, compassionate response. 
Intended for international distribution, the two- 
hour video documentary is slated for completion 
by March 1 . A Quilting of Hearts: 972 Drew ry St., 
N.W.. Atlanta. GA 30306: (404) 88 1-0032: (301 ) 
268-5587. 

Polish-bom independent Slawomir Grunberg 
has completed tw o documentaries that also exam- 
ine the fate of PLWAs. When the Family Gets 
AIDS is a 28-minute portrait of a family of four: 
the mother, father, and youngest son all test HIV- 
positive. In the tape, the tension and drama of their 
lives unfold over a 15-month period. "Six months 
ago I though I was 100 percent guaranteed, and 
one night I woke up as a minority." says Bill, who 
was infected by his wife after she received a 
contaminated blood transfusion in the hospital. 
Bill w as brutally attacked by a group of youth who 
recognized his face from a local paper as a PWLA. 
In the 58-minute LSAIDS: Small Town Di- 
lemma. Grunberg introduces us to six middle- 
American families who have all been hit by the 
crisis. They face the same isolation as Bill: neigh- 
bors often forbid their children to interact, and in 



A radioactive waste burial site at 
the Savannah River Plant in Aiken, 
South Carolina — where six million 
cubic feet of contaminated 
material is buried in 192 acres — 
represents one of the dangerous 
aspects of the nuclear weapons 
manufacturing process described 
in Building Bombs, by Mark Mori 
and Susan Robinson. 



Courtesy videomakers 



one scene a family doctor locks the door of his 
clinic and calls the police when a family comes to 
have their sick boy treated. When the Family Gets 
AIDS and USA1DS: Small Town Dilemma: 
Slawomir Grunberg. 4 LaRue Rd.. Spencer, NY 
14883: (607) 589-4771: 274-3682. 

It is not what happens, but the how and why that 
generate the tragic power of Woman in the Wind, 
a new dramatic film by director/cinematographer 
Gerardo Puglia and producer Gaetana Marrone. 
based on a screenplay by Stuart Kaminsky . Agatha 
is a rugged, proud, and stubborn woman. Appar- 
ently abandoned by her husband, she lives alone 
in a beautiful mountain wilderness. There, in the 
quiet, she is content to watch the seasons come 
and go. to simply exist, until Angelo appears. He 
is a mocking, tempting man who claims to have 
know n her husband. All too quickly Angelomakes 
himself a part of Agatha's life. She fights her 
attraction to the stranger, loses that battle, then 
struggles to regain her dignity and independence. 
When Angelo's influence becomes apparent to 
Agatha's daughter, who wants to visit her mother, 
the woman makes one final, violent move to 
extricate herself from his magnetic force. Colleen 
Dewhurst stars as Agatha and Jay O. Sanders is 
Angelo in the one-hour film shot on location in 
Wyoming. The Arts and Entertainment network 
will premiere Woman in the Wind on its Short 
Stories series in January. Woman in the Wind: 
Gerardo Puglia. 8 College Rd.. Princeton, NJ 
08540: (609) 683-4648. 

Videomakers Ann Eugenia Volkes and Ruth 
Lefkowitz have been awarded an SI 8,000 grant 
from the New York State Council on the Arts to 
produce Lee Grant: Definitions of an Inde- 
pendent Woman, a one-hour exploration of the 
life and work of the actress/filmmaker. Inter- 
views, film clips, and news footage are inter- 
woven w ith scenes of Grant at work. As an actress 
w ho achieved early success, she faced enormous 
obstacles: blacklisted for 12 years, her personal 
history reflects a spirit committed to survive dur- 
ing the "scoundrel time" of the McCarthy period. 
That experience informed Grant's artistic and 
political sensibilities as a filmmaker. Her 
documentaries — Women of Willmar. What Sex 
Am I?, Down and Out in America — look at Ameri- 



32 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1989 



El Salvador Media 

Project's new release, All 

the Love (Todo el Amoi), 

follows veterans of the 

civil war in El Salvador 

from the battlegrounds 

to rehabilitation centers 

in Cuba. 

Courtesy videomakers 




can life from the point of view of the 
disenfranchised. Lee Grant is slated for comple- 
tion in April. Lee Grant; Ann Eugenia Volkes and 
Ruth Lefkowitz, 329 E. 13th St., New York, NY 
10003; (212) 677-7284; (212) 975-2637. 

In Unwasted Stories, producer Kathleen 
Laughlin tackles issues our culture tends to ig- 
nore, centered around the garbage and pollutants 
that are the by-products of modern life. The 75- 
minute video includes innovative elements un- 
common to documentaries on environmental 
policy. Poet Meridel Le Seuer reads excerpts from 
her 1945 history of the state North Star. There are 
also animation segments by Alison Morse, and 
illustrative postcards provide a counter-narrative. 
The tape features interviews with both officials 
and activists who speak about energy efficiency, 
composting, recylcing, environmental leadership, 
and the impending downtown Minneapolis gar- 
bage incinerator. Through Unwasted Stories, 
Laughlin calls for a sane environmental policy for 
Minnesota. Unwasted Stories: Intermedia Arts, 
425 Ontario St., S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55414; 
(612)627-4444. 

Another water-related documentary from 
Minnesota is America's Inland Coast: Portraits 
from the Great Lakes, a new 56-minute tape by 
Richard Olsenius. Reaching 1,200 miles into the 
heartland of North America, the Great Lakes are 
among the world's major water resources. With 
20 percent of the world's surface freshwater and 
over 10,000 miles of shoreline, these inland seas 
shape the lives and lifestyles of millions of 
Americans. Using personal narratives, Olsenius 
shapes a portrait of the region through the lives of 
four individuals. Andy LaFond, a third generation 
commercial fisherman, is struggling to keep his 
family business alive. Tugboat captain Clem 
Morrison has watched as 50 years of shipping 
changed the character of midwestern towns like 
Duluth. Along the hillsides of Traverse City, the 
tempering waters of Lake Michigan help wine- 
master Mark Johnson bring new vitality to the 
region's economy. And Geoff Pope, the 75-year- 
old skipper of the "Sheila Yates" explores a world 
of beauty and adventure along Lake Superior's 
Canadian coast. America's Inland Coast: Inter- 
media Arts, 425 Ontario St., S.E., Minneapolis, 



MN 55414; (612) 627-4444. 

It's the hottest nuclear arms controversy in the 
U.S. today, provoking scientists, generals, presi- 
dential hopefuls, and ordinary citizens into de- 
bate. People across the country are worried that 
the mismanagement of the U.S. Energy Depart- 
ment's Savannah River Plant, outside Aiken, South 
Carolina, has created the most dangerous concen- 
tration of radioactive waste in the Southeast. 
Atlanta-based filmmakers Mark Mori and Susan 
Robinson bring attention to this crisis in Building 
Bombs, a newly-released documentary that looks 
at the environmental dangers and moral dilemma 
surrounding the plant and its 34 million gallons of 
lethal radioactive waste. Using rare archival foot- 
age, the filmmakers convey the pioneer spirit of 
the early 1950s in rural South Carolina, as the 
Savannah River Plant is opened to produce radio- 
active plutonium and tritium, the twin triggers of 
the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Building Bombs brings 
viewers "inside" a top secret weapons facility, 
probing the details of the manufacturing process 
as well as the emotional make-up of the people 
who create the bombs. Mori and Robinson focus 
on the personal stories of two men: Arthur Dexter, 
a veteran physicist at the plant, and William 
Lawless, the former senior engineer for nuclear 
waste management who exposed the slipshod 
system of disposal at the deteriorating facility. 
The horror stories related by these two men illus- 
trate the attitudes of corporate and government 
officials and tell a frightening tale of the conse- 
quences of American weapons policy. Building 
Bombs: News Film, Box 5202, Sta. E, Atlanta, 
GA 30307; (404) 627-2485. 

In Promises to Keep, independent producer 
Ginny Durrin tells the story of Mitch Snyder and 
the Community for Creative Non-Violence, and 
their four year battle to get funding to create a 
decent shelter for the homeless in Washington. 
D.C. The hour-long film uses archival clips and 
news reports to chronicle Snyder's struggle — 
with shades of Capra's Mr. Smith — to establish 
the shelter by confronting Washington's power- 
ful on behalf of the poor. The soundtrack includes 
gospel music by the Richard Smallwood Singers 
and narration spoken by actor Martin Sheen, who 
played Snyder in a CBS made-for-television 



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MARCH 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 33 




Mark Gaspar's An Empty 
Bed depicts scenes from 
the lives of retired 
people — friends and 
acquaintances of the 
main character Bill 
Frayne, played by John 
Wylie. 

Photo Michael Taylor 



movie. Promises to Keep premiered in September 
at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 
Washington and will be released nationally on 
public television. Promises to Keep: Vickie Poyn- 
ton. Dunrin Productions. Inc.. 1748 Kalorama 
Rd.. N.W.. Washington. DC: (202) 387-6700. 

New York-based Locus Communications 
earned kudos as a finalist at the International Film 
and Video Festival in the Anthropology/Ethnic 
Studies category for its production of Carnevale 
Irpino a New York. Directed by Gerry Pallor and 
produced by Anna Lomax Chairetakis. Carnevale 
Irpino portrays a flamboyant version of Italian 
culture set in an American catering hall. The video 
documentary features a troupe of street perform- 
ers celebrating a traditional Carnival with their 
Italian American compatriots. More than a staged 
concert, it's also a participatory event. The audi- 
ence, in costume, merrily commemorates the death 
of Carnevale. a vagabond who has delighted and 
distressed his fellow citizens. With folk song and 
dance, including the renowned Tarantella Mon- 
temaranese. they recall his clamorous life. Locus 
produced the tape for the Institute for Italian 
American Studies. Carnevale Irpino a New York: 
Locus Communications. 151 W. 25th St.. 3F. 
New York. NY 10001: (212) 242-0281. 

Each year, on Labor Day. another New York 
community celebrates Carnival. Celebration is 
Karen Kramer"s 29-minute film about Carnival 
on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, an event that 
brings together the largest Caribbean community 
in the United States. In her film. Kramer records 
the calypso rhythms and striking visual displays 
of Carnival bands, costumed performers, and huge 
crowds of spectators and participants. She also 
uses the film as an opportunity to talk to West 
Indian expatriates, w ho discuss the importance of 
Cami\ al in maintaining cultural identity and links 
w ith home cultures. Celebration w as premiered at 
the Margaret Mead Film Festival and broadcast 
on WNET-New York last September. Celebra- 
tion: Karen Kramer. 22 Leroy St.. New York. NY 
10014: (2121691-3470. 

Oscar Stringfellow. an upwardly mobile mari- 



onette, thought two housekeeping robots would 
make life easier for his puppet family. But they 
upset his dog. robbed him of his daughter's affec- 
tion, and grabbed his wife's strings in the attic. 
Now Oscar's troubled. Can robots really think? 
Might he be some kind of robot? Might they be a 
kind of him? These questions are raised in the 
comedic We're Not Robots. You Know!, a video 
puppet opera from the Minnesota-based Syner- 
genesis Corporation. The 47-minute tape, pro- 
duced in association with Equinox Films and 
combining puppetry with computer graphics by 
Gene Ramsay and cinematographer Thomas E. 
Ramsay, tells philosopher-librettist Keith Gen- 
derson's story of creativity, freedom, and control. 
Eric Stokes' original composition, a tongue-in- 
cheek revival of the eighteenth-century puppet 
opera, is a barrage of teenage tantrum arias, canine 
pastorales, robotic rondos, and duets on American 
consumerism. We're Not Robots, You Know!: 
Synergenesis Corp.. 4910 Fremont Ave. S.. Min- 
neapolis. MN 55409. 

In a w orld w here youth is idealized. An Empty 
Bed is a unique film about the concerns of retired 
people who are left to fend for themselves. The 
56-minute film, written and directed by Mark 
Gasper, is about a day in the life of Bill Frayne. 
played by actor John Wylie. a gay man in his mid- 
sixties who lives alone in Greenwich Villaae. 



During the course of this typical day he encoun- 
ters people, objects, and places that stir and revive 
memories from his past. Frayne's story is told 
nonsequentially. largely through flashbacks. It 
mirrors the character's processes of memory by 
connecting random thoughs and events to form a 
picture of his entire life. The film was photo- 
graphed by Oren Rudavsky. a longtime indepen- 
dent filmmaker, and produced by Gasper and Vic- 
toria Larimore. An Empty- Bed premiered at the 
1988 Independent Feature Film Market in New 
York. An Empty Bed: Yankee-Oriole Co., 28-02 
36 Ave.. Astoria. NY 11106-3106: (718) 786- 
9706. 

Itam Hakim, Hopiit — An Indian Tale, a 
videotape by Native American media artist Victor 
Masayesva Jr.. has been released on home video 
by Chicago-based Facets Video as part of its 
Images Series. In this stylistically daring, poetic 
visualization of the Hopi Indians and their leg- 
ends, myths, histories, and oral traditions the artist 
explores his people's legacy and traditions. Masay- 
esva's visuals unfold in counterpoint to the words 
of an elder Hopi storyteller. The sounds of the 
ancient Hopi language and dramatic landscapes 
evoke the imagery and express the reverance for 
the Earth, whose caretakers the Hopi consider 
themselves to be. Itam Hakim. Hopiit — An Indian 
Tale: Facets Video. 1517 W. Fullerton. Chicago. 
IL 606 14: (800) 33 1-6 197. 

Cross Body Ride, a 12.5-minute super 8 film, 
directed, shot, and edited by Jeff McMahon. fea- 
tures dancers David Zambrano and Donald Flem- 
ing and captures them in a moody duet. The film 
constantly shifts sense of place and time, intercut- 
ting black and white with color and still photo- 
graphs with the moving image. The score was 
composed by Charles Nieland. who has previ- 
ously collaborated w ith McMahon. Cross Body 
Ride received funding through a Choreographer's 
Fellow ship from the National Endowment for the 
Arts, in addition to private sources. It has already 
screened at the Exit Art First International Forum 
of Super 8 film. Encuentro de Cine Super 8 in 
Puerto Rico, and gay /lesbian film festivals in New 
York City. Buffalo, and Chicago. Cross Body- 
Ride: Jeff McMahon. 5 12 E. 1 1th St.. #4B. New 
York. NY 10009: (212) 677-3214. 



A masker celebrates 

Italian carnival in 

Queens, New York, in 

Gerry Pallor and Anna 

Lomax Chairetakis' 

Carnevale Irpino a 

New York. 

Courtesy videomakers 




34 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1989 



CLASSIFIEDS 



The Independent's Classifieds col- 
umn includes all listings for "Buy • 
Rent • Sell," "Freelancers" & "Post- 
production" categories. It is restricted 
to members only. Each entry has a 
250 character limit & costs $20 per 
issue. Ads exceeding this length will 
be edited. Payment must be made 
at the time of submission. Anyone 
wishing to run a classified ad more 
than once must pay for each inser- 
tion & indicate the number of inser- 
tions on the submitted copy. Each 
classified ad must be typed, 
double-spaced & worded exactly 
as it should appear. 

Deadlines for Classifieds will be re- 
spected. These are the 8th of each 
month , two months prior to the cover 
date, e.g., March 8 for the May issue. 
Make check or money order— no 
cash, please — payable to FIVF, 625 
Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 
10012. 



Buy • Rent • Sell 



Earn a Masters Degree in Film & Video from the 
American University School of Communication in 
Washington, D.C. For info, write: School of Communi- 
cation, Graduate Film and Video Program, The Ameri- 
can University, Washington D.C. 20016. 

For Sale: Arriflex S/B w/ APEC, con. & var. spd. 
motors, Cine 60 bait., Ang. 12-120. Ang. 5.9, Schn. 10, 
25, 50, Tiffen, case. Zeiss Moviscope, Ediquip amp. 
Moviola, sync block & rewinds, Bolex spier, Eiki proj. 
w/rec & more. Asking $4,100, pkg or sep. Jerry (203) 
359-8992. 

Available for Rent: Shooting stages (60 x 40, 50 x 
25), 2 computerized motion control systems w/ 35mm 
camera, computer controlled Oxberry animation stand, 
lighting & grip eqpt., production office space. (212) 
254-5400; FAX: 529-5506. 

Sale! Ikegami HL95B camera w/ Fujinon 14 x 9mm 
zoom lens w/2x extender & macro capabilities, CA95C 
adapter for stand-alone capability. All NTSC formats. 
Exc. cond, scrupulously maintained. Great price! Avail. 
3/1/89. (212) 627-9120 for details. 

SEG: Crsspt Ltch 6119, $2150. TBC: FA-200, $3100. 
Camera: Pana 6000S1, batts. & chrgrs, $2250. Edit 
syst: 2 Pana AG-6500, Cntrlr AG-650, $6400. Port 
VCR: Pana VHS AG-2400. adptr & batts. $745. Moni- 
tors: 2 NEC 13" C13-304A, $515. Or b.o. (718) 956- 
9098. 

For Sale: Computer: Amiga 1000, 512K & 1080 
Monitor & 1300 Genlock & 1010 3.5" External disk 
drive & Alegra external memory, 512K. $1750. Low 
hours. As priced or best offer. Call (718) 956-9098. 

Sony BVP-3A camera w/ CA-30 adaptor. Canon 13 x 
9 w/ 2x lens + Sony BVV-1A recorder. Camera used 
approx. 1000 hrs, recorder less than 100 hrs. All in 
meticulous repair, used by only 2 people. $17,000. 



(612) 228-1860 or (6121 222-2109. 

Trade: Independent filmmaker w/ 6-plate Steenbeck 
interested in trading use of flatbed for office work 
space. If interested, please call (718) 875-9072. 

Moviola 6-plate flatbed 16mm editing tables for sale, 
M77 $5500. M86 $6500. or best offer, also spare M77 
circuit cards. Dwight (617) 789-5887. 

For Sale or Rent: 9.5-57 lens $2,500, 1O-150 ang. 
$3000. Moviola editing table $8000, 6 racks of amega 
dubbers w/ altec equalizer. Nagra 3 $1400, Bolex 
camera $200, NPR brace $50 & barney $50. Other 
equip, avail, to rent. Amy (212) 620-0084. 

For Sale: 3/4" ENG pkg: Sony VO-4800 & Panasonic 
WV-6000. Includes batteries, AC adapter/charger, carry 
& travel cases: $2400. Sony DXC-1610 w/ CCU, AC 
adapter/charger: $395. Panasonic pk-959: $430. Michael 
(212)691-0375. 

For Lease: Arri SR package, personal camera, $600- 
800/mo. For sale: Eclair NPR package, excellent cond., 
$2,500 or best offer. David (317) 283-3517. 

Such a Deal! Lightweight 16mm Frezzolini camera 
pkg for sale. Includes crystal sync body, 12-120 
Angenieux zoom, 3 400' mags, 4 built-in 12-V batts, 
magnetic recording head, sound mixer, etc. $2600. Call 
Liz 718/622-2158. 

For Rent in your space: Complete Sony 5850, 5800, 
RM440 off-line. Anvil cases fold out to form conven- 
ient table, cutting space. Reasonable rate. For Sale: 8- 
plate Steenbeck. 1000' rewind, reinforced carrying 
handles. VG cond. Must sell. $ 1 0,500 or b.o. (914) 478- 
0518. 

Paint & Animation Package: Lumena 16 paint box. 
titler, animator, video tools, tips, artwork, etc. (worth 
over $50,000) will let go for $15,000 or best offer. Can 
divide. Also BCD, Targa, VVP. Ed, (212) 228-4024. 

Bolex Animation JK motor, 1 6mm rflx, JK controller, 
frxbr, frwd, rev, cont, programmer, all $1500. (212) 
228-4024. 

Angenieux 12/120 zoom. C-mount. Make an offer. 

(212) 228-4024. 

Freelancers 

Help Wanted: Feature film prod, facility looking for 
very bright, self-motivated office manager trainee w/ 
good writing, organizational & phone skills. Typing 60 
wpm. Knowledge of Macintosh a plus. (718) 802-0200 
between 9:30 & 6:30. 

Film Prod. Contacts: monthly newsletter listing SAG 
& nonunion films now in pre-prod. in US. Lists produc- 
ers seeking talent & services for upcoming films. $39.95/ 
yr. Sample issue $5. National Film Sources, 10 E. 39 
St.. #1017, NY, NY 10016; (800) 222-3844 for credit 
card orders. 

3/4" Video Production: 3-tube Sony cameras, tripods, 
lights, audio, van, experienced cameraman. Very rea- 
sonable rates. Smart Video (212) 877-5545. 

Sony M3A. VO 6800, tripod, mics, lites, monitor, 
operator, transportation in Houston area. Economical. 
Joe (713) 981-9803. 



3 Chips on the Shoulder. Multi-award winning cine/ 
videographer available for interesting projects. 700+ 3 
CCD Sony DXC M7 package. S-VHS, Mil, Beta SP. 
lights, station wagon, the works. Supreme Videos. 
Tony (212)753-1050. 

Composer: Award-winning composer available for film 
and video projects. Credits include The Great San 
Francisco Earthquake for PBS {The American Experi- 
ence). Demo available on request. David Koblitz (212) 
988-2961. 

Video Production: 1/2", 3/4" and 1" masters — studio 
or location. Equipment rentals. 1/2" and 3/4" dubs. Film 
to tape transfers. Call Videoplex at (212) 807-821 1. 

Award Winning Videographer w/ Sony DXC 3000. 
3 chip camera, Sennheiser sound, complete broadcast 
package. Experienced w/ news gathering, documenta- 
ries, dance, industrials & editing. Call John for rates: 
Ego Video (212) 475-6550. 

3/4" & S-VHS well maintained equipment w/ operator. 
Low per diem rates. Cal Kingsley Allison (212) 519- 
6304. 

Documentary Editor w/own 3/4" equipment. US and 
European TV credits. English and Spanish speaking. 
Good w/ narration and voiceover. Call Martin Lucas 
(718)625-0031. 

Betacam — $350/day w/ tripod, lights, radio mics, and 
technician. 3/4" editing w/ editor $25/hr. Incl. Digital 
EFX, Amiga 2000 char, gen., live camera. TC reader. S- 
VHS Camcorder shoot w/ cameraman $190/day. Elec- 
tronic Visions (212) 691-0375. 

Cameraman w/ own equipment available. 16 SR. 35 
BL, superspeed lenses, video camera, sound equip- 
ment, lighting van. Passport. Certified scuba diver. 
Speak French, a little Spanish. Call (212) 929-7728. 

Sound Man: Antonio Arroyo. Nagra, Sennheisers, 
Micron Radio equipment. Feature & doc credits. Bilin- 
gual & passport. For booking, call Amy at CEM-Crews 
(212) 620-0084. 

Betacam SP w/ complete remote package (including 
Vinten tripod, radio/shot mics, award-winning camera- 
man, transportation) available for your independent 
production. Call Hal at (201) 662-7526. 

Wanted: Film Producer: Manhattan-based, award- 
winning director and writer are looking for experienced 
line producer for short film to be shot in April '89. Send 
current resume & letter to: Box 1045, Varrick St. 

Station. NY, NY 10014. 

Film Editor: Documentary or dramatic film. Reel, 3/4" 
or VHS upon request. Call Jack Walz (609) 893-7817 
or write Box 796. Browns Mills, NJ 08015-0796. 

Experienced Editor w/ flatbed space available for 
16mm & 35mm features, docs, shorts, etc. Good rates. 
Call John at (212) 927-9062. 

Cinematographer/Sound recordist (ACL-Stellavox) 
ready to work for you. International experience and 
rates to suit. Call Alessandro Cavadini (212) 925-1500. 

Director of Photography available for dramatic films, 
16 or 35mm productions of any length. Call to see my 
reel. John (201) 783-7360. 



MARCH 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 35 



COOPS, 

CONDOS 

& LOFTS 

Do you want to buy or sell 

an apartment or loft in 

Manhattan or Brooklyn? 

• Find out about today's 
market for first-time buy- 
ers or trade-up sellers 

• Artists' coops /condos 
• Live/work lofts and 

houses with income 
• All price ranges 

Dana Haynes 

Lie. R.E./NYS 
718-783-6242 




VIDEO POST PRODUCTION 



VID€OG€NIX 

Of NCW V O ft K. INC 

212-925-0445 

503-511 BROADWAY 
NEW YORK, NY 10012 




L<x)king for Exotic Locations? Want to reduce your 
costs? Venezuela offers beautiful unspoiled landscapes. 
We coordinate all your needs for film, video, photogra- 
phy and music; crews, equipment, postproduction, 
extras, bilingual personnel, and actors. For info: (212) 
727-8231. 

Pal/Secam/Ntsc conversions: Very affordable stan- 
dards conversion rates for AIVF/FIVF members. Also 
seeking foreign films for distrib. to consumer, educ, 
retail markets. Contact Zeeshan: (206) 365-3249; 1 233 1 
32 Ave NE. Seattle, WA 98125. 

Looking for Help? Are the odds against you? Give me 
a call on your next film or video production. I have the 
equipment and the experience to get the job done! Call 
Ralph at (718)284-0223. 

Are You Curious to see what your 16mm film might 
look like blown up to 35mm? Let me transfer those 
16mm frames of film to 35mm still photos! I can also 
transfer 35mm slides to 1 6mm film. Call Ralph at (7 1 8) 
284-0223. 

Award-Winning Writer making move into film and 
video, will develop scripts for projects in different 
genres. Accurate, sensitive and stylish; will consider 
projects large and small; fees negotiable. Call Colette 
Hughes (212) 749-0566. 

Director of Photography w/ feature film, commer- 
cial, industrial experience. Self-owned 35mm. 16mm 
camera systems, lights, electrical, sync sound record- 
ing/playback system. Lowest rates in Tri-State area! 
Call (201) 798-8467. 

3/4" & Betacam prod, pkgs avail. Ikegami cameras, 
Sony decks, full sound & light gear. Best ENG crew in 
the city. Multi camera shoots. We've done it all, often 
& with the best. RAI (Italy), La Cinque (Paris), WTN 
(NYC), CBS (NYC). David Wallace (212) 594-7530. 

Sound Recordist/Sound Editor: Complete Nagra 
package w/ mikes. Own Steenbeck editing room for 
sound cutting jobs. Lots of experience in doc & narra- 
tive. Good rates. Cathy Calderon (212) 580-2075. 

Whatever Youre Looking For, I can find. Call or 
write for brochure. Design Research. Dept. B, Box 
1503, Bandor ME, 04401; (207) 941-0838. 

Cinematographer & sound person to work on inde- 
pendent films. (718) 729-7481. Alina/Vincent. Long 
Live Independence! 

Cinematographer w/ features, documentary & com- 
mercial credits avail, for film or video projects of any 
length. Personable w/ strong visual sense & excellent 
lighting. Own equipment, at a reasonable rate you can 
afford. Call for demo: Eric (718) 699-3485. 

Editor/Sound Editor w/ features & documentary 
experience avail, for your independent projects. Owns 
digital sound equipment & great sound FX library. 
Clean, fast & organized. Credits include award-win- 
ning films. Flexible rates. Call (718) 699-3485. 

Need Help With Your Projects? I have the experi- 
ence & equipment (camera, recording & editing) for 
your next film or video production at a rate you can 
afford. Give me a call for your problems & I'll get the 
job done. Call (718) 699-4385. 



Postproduction 

Bob Brodskv & Tom Treadway: Super 8 & 8mm 
film-to-video mastering w/ scene-by-scene color cor- 



rection to 1 ", Betacam & 3/4". By appointment only. 
Call (617) 666-3372. 

Negative Matching: 16mm. super 16, 35mm. Credits 
include Jim Jarmusch. Wim Wenders, Lizzie Borden & 
Bruce Weber. Reliable results at reasonable rates. One 
White Glove, Tim Brennan, 32 1 W. 44th St., #4 1 1 . New 
York, NY 10036; (212) 265-0787. 

Broadcast Quality Editing: Edit from Betacam, 3/4" 
or 3/4" SP. $99/hr including operator, switcher, slo-mo. 
50% discount on DVE for AIVF members. Call HDTV 
Enterprises, Inc., near Lincoln Center (212) 874-4524. 

16mm Flatbeds for Rent: 6-plate flatbeds for rent in 
your workspace or fully equipped downtown editing 
room w/ 24-hour access. Cheapest rates in NYC for 
independent filmmakers. Call Philmaster Productions 

(212) 873-4470. 

Broadcast Quality Video Editing: 3/4" Sony BVU- 
800s BVE 3000 Editor TBCs, switcher, slo-mo, freeze 
frames, chyron graphics. W/ editor. 900' sq. studio w/ 
lighting/sound/camera. $50/hr commercial, $35/hr 
indies. Downtown Brooklyn, A&S (718) 802-7750. 

Make Postprod. a Vacation! Edit in Vermont. New 
editing suites in 3/4" and VHS (Sony 5800-5850 w/ 
RM450/JVC 6400-8600 off-line w/ FX). Next to major 
ski areas. Find out how relaxing, creative, convenient 
and economical we can be. David (802) 773-0510. 

Cinergy Communications CORP/Cinergy Sound and 
Video, 321 West 44th St., NY, NY 10036, offers 
substantial savings on complete postproduction pack- 
ages for 16mm and 35mm film and 3/4" video. Please 
call Pat Kranish (212) 582-2900. 

Video 8 Studio: Off-line editing w/ color correction, 
fades, slo-mo, still, PCM dub/mix. Dupe/transfer: V8- 
3/4"-VHS. Low cost/high quality V8 production (shoot/ 
edit/dupe. Sony Pro). Indies/artists welcome. Hourly 
rates or by project. Info: Frank Goldberg (212) 677- 
1679. 

3/4" Professional Videotape Editing. Sony decks, 
TBC, color correct, full sound EQ, more. When you 
need an editor who is both good & fast, call 29th Street 
Video, (212) 594-7530. Also VHS off-line editing w/ 
wipes, fades etc. From S20/hr. Call for appt. 

1 6mm Cutting Rooms: 8-plate & 6-plate fully equipped 
rooms, sound transfer facilities. 24-hr access. Down- 
town, near all subways and Canal St. Reasonable, 
negotiable rates. (212) 925-1500. 

Super 8 24 fps transfers: scene-by-scene color correc- 
tion via CCD telecine, Sony 700 Color Corrector w/ 
hue, phase, gamma compensation, neg-pos reserving, 
b&w tinting, wipes, etc., Tascam & Dolby C. S 1 -3/min. 
1 ". 1/2", 3/4" & 3/4" SP + stock, $25/min. Gerald Yates 
(203) 359-8992. 

PostontheCoasT: relaxed time-code editing in Maine, 
hassle free, multi-format (3/4" SP & 1/2", incl. SEG 
freezes, Chyron. camera) software based A/B system 
w/edit list generation. Cuts only as low as S20/hr. AIVF 
discount. Expanded Video (207) 773-7005. 



36 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1989 



El'& v I ' 




THE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO 
AND FILMMAKERS MEANS: 

. unprehensive health, disability, life, and equipment insurance at affordable r, 

• Festival Bure; international and domestic film and vid. Us 

id public forums to increase supj ndependent production 

i nd aesthetu 

s, inclml i ental, film labs, post-production facilities & equipment rental 

subscription to THE INDEPENDENT Film and Video Monthly, the only national film and video magazine 
taih ir) 




AfVf 



n 



U>r7>kC 



&ST1 



/ 



s 





/ 



diversified catalogue 

of information for 

all your film 

and video 

needs. 



wealth of information is now available 
to you through Al VF by mail or in 
person. Our book/tape list covers practically every facet of the field. 
Subjects covered are production, fundraising, legal, screenwriting, 
technical, super 8, lighting, audio, public tv, cable, video, copyright, dis- 
tribution, political and more. 



Complete the other side of this card and 
mail to AIVF to receive a complete list of 
books and tapes available or call us at 
212-473-3400. 






»v'.[\' 



\ — 




2a9 



W*J" 



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Help Yourself. 






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nailing) 

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Zip. 






lease send me the latest copy 
of your book and tape list. 



Name. 



Address. 
City 



State. 



Zip- 



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OR: 
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Telephone. 



AfVf 

AIVF Publications 
625 Broadway 
9th Floor 
New York, NY 10012 



■ 



NOTICES 



Notices are listed free of charge. AIVF 
members receive first priority; others 
are included as space permits. The 
Independent reserves the right to edit 
for length. 

Deadlines for Notices will be re- 
spected. These are the 8th of the 
month, two months prior to cover 
date, e.g., March 8 forthe May issue. 
Send to: Independent Notices, FIVF, 
625 Broadway, New York, NY 10012. 



Conferences • Workshops 

NAMAC Annual Conference, devoted to Media & 
Education, will be held Mar. 18-21 in Rochester, NY. 
Incl. screenings of 2nd Annual Nat'l Student Film & 
Video Festival. Fee: $ 100 non-members. S75 members. 
Contact: Judy Natal, Visual Studies Workshop; (716) 
442-8676. 

University of Wisconsin Outreach announces spring 
seminars in Milwaukee, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, 
Dallas & NYC. Topics incl. "Getting Published Suc- 
cessfully," "How to Succeed in the Film Industry," 
"Producing Ultra-Low & Low Budget Features" & 
"Making a Good Script Great." Fee: $165 for 2-day 
prgm. Contact: Robert Lewis (414) 227-3236 or Linda 
Smith, Communication Programs, UW-Milwaukee, 929 
N. Sixth St., Milwaukee, WI 53203. 

Bay Area Video Collective Spring Workshops. 
Topics incl. Casting, Control Track & Time Code 
Editing, CMX Editing, Basic Video Prod., Basic Light- 
ing. Interviewing Tech., Basic Video Engineering, 1" 
Video Operations, Making & Repairing Cables. Intro to 
Amiga. Fees vary: $20 to $430. Contact: BAVC, 1111 
17th St., San Francisco, CA 94107. 

The Cutting Room Floor: Missing Scenes from Great 
Movies: readings by NY screenwriters of favorite scenes 
that never made it to the screen. Mar. 10 at 8 PM, NY 
Society for Ethical Culture. 2 W. 64th St.. NYC. Co- 
sponsored by Writers Guild of America. East. Part of 
West Side YMCA Center for the Arts' series "The 
Writer's Voice." 1/2 price tickets for AIVF members. 

Media Training at Film/Video Arts: Prof, instruction 
in all areas of film & video prod, on beginning & 
intermediate levels, incl. 16mm film prod.. 16mm film 
editing, video prod., video editing, screenwriting, di- 
recting, fundraising, prod, mgmt & intro to digital 
effects. Scholarships avail, for Blacks. Latinos, Asians 
& Native Amers residing in NYS. Contact: Media 
Training, F/VA. 8 1 7 Broadway, New York, NY 10003; 
(212)673-9361. 

Fast Rewind: The Archaeology of Moving Images. 
a 4-day int'l conference on moving image preservation 
& application. May 4-7 in Rochester, NY. Panels and 
presentations on preservation, research, teaching, ex- 
changing, financing and sharing. Contact: Rochester 
Institute of Technology, College of Liberal Arts. Bruce 
Austin, William Kern Prof, in Communications. One 
Lomb Memorial Dr., Box 9887. Rochester. NY 14623- 
0887: (716)475-6649. 

American Film Institute Spring 1 989 seminars in LA. 
NYC, DC. Minneapolis & SF. Topics incl. acting. 



screenwriting, business, computers. Contact: AFI, Public 
Service Programs. 2021 N. Western Ave., LA, CA 
90027; (800) 999-4AFI. 

Intl Experimental Film Congress in Toronto will 
feature screenings, panels & presentations on avant- 
garde cinema. Programs incl. founding women of avant- 
garde. Hollis Framption retro, nat'l prgms from Can- 
ada. W. Germany. Eastern Europe, Latin America. 
Europe. May 28 - June 4. Contact: Jim Shedden, Int'l 
Experimental Film Congress, 2 Sussex Ave., Toronto 
ON M5S 1J5, Canada; (416) 978-7790/588-8940. 

Cultural Council Foundation announces free con- 
sulting "clinics" for nonprofit arts groups in NYC. Staff 
specializes in areas such as fundraising, organizational 
dev., publicity, accounting & others. By appt only. 
Contact: Jenny Avery; (212) 473-5660. 

Films • Tapes Wanted 

New England Foundation for the Arts is seeking 3/ 
4"& VHS tapes & 16mm films for Spring 1989 "Mixed 
Signals" series to be aired on local cable TV channels. 
Fee $20/min., max length 58 min. Clearance of rights & 
tech suitability necessary. Deadline: Mar. 3, 1989. 
Submit films/tapes w/ SASE to: Mixed Signals, NEFA, 
678 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139. 

Independents Collective Showcase seeks humor- 
ous shorts for video distribution. Send SASE to: ICSIF, 
Box 16069, Encino, CA, 91416; (818) 609-9882. 

New Day Films, self-distribution cooperative for in- 
dies, seeks new members with recent social issue docs 
or progressive films for young people. Deadline: April. 
Write: Ralph Arlyck, 79 Raymond Ave.. Poughkeep- 
sie, NY 12601. 

Interactivity, a multi-disciplinary arts fest, seeks VHS 
& 3/4" tapes for possible screening. Deadline: Mar. 1. 
Send tapes with SASE to: Interactivity. Madison Art 
Center, 211 State St., Madison, WI 53703. 

Film Crash seeking films for regular NYC screenings 
of indie prods. Contact: Matthew Harrison (212) 673- 
3335. Karl Nussbaum (718) 636-5496, Scott Saunders 
(718) 643-6085, or write: Film Crash, 160 E. 3 St. #4G. 
New York, NY 10009. 

Opportunities • Gigs 

San Francisco State University, cinema dept.. seeks 
filmmakers & scholars as residents for fall '89 semes- 
ter. Instructional position involves teaching 3 courses, 
salary & rank neg. Women & minorities encouraged. 
Send letter of interest, resume & support materials incl. 
work sample to: Bill Nichols, Dept. of Cinema, San 
Francisco State Univ., 1600 Holloway Ave.. San Fran- 
cisco, CA 94132. Deadline: Mar. 15. 

Anthropology Film Center in Santa Fe, NM seeks 
students for 2-part, 9-month intensive doc. prog, featur- 
ing hands-on training & cross-cultural communication. 
Max 20 students have access to 16mm prod, units. For 
Fall '89 info contact: Admissions, Documentary Film 
Program, Box 493. Santa Fe. NM 87540-0493; (505) 
983-4127. Temple Univ. affiliated MFA prgm contact: 
Richard Chalfen. Dept. of Anthropology. Temple 
University. Philadelphia. PA 19122. 



Programmer: At Collective for Living Cinema. Col- 
lective screens films & videos 7 days/wk, 52 wks/yr. 
Applicant must have 2-5 yrs. experience in film/video 
programming. EOE. Deadline: Mar. 31. Apply in writ- 
ing (no phone calls) by sending cover letter, resume, 1 
month's prgm & 3 letters of reference to: Search 
Committee, Collective for Living Cinema, 41 White 
St.. New York. NY 10013. 

Video/Film Artist sought by Visual Arts Dept., UC 
San Diego for tenure track position beg. Fall '89. 
Exhibition & college teaching exp.. MFA or equiv. 
required. Rank & sal. neg. Deadline: April 15. Write: 
David Antin, Visual Arts (B-027), Univ. of Cal. San 
Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093. Include letter, curriculum 
vitae, 3 refs & sample of work w/ SASE. Incl. ref. # 
21071 on all mail. 

Assistant Professor of media arts wanted. Tenure 
track, beg. Sept. '89. Teaching experience & prof. prod, 
experience, terminal degree or equiv. required. Sal. 
competitive. Deadline: Mar. 25. Sendc.v., work sample, 
statements regarding work/educ. philosophy, 3 refs, 
SASE to: Larry Travis, Dept. of Art. Box 19089, Univ. 
of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX 760 1 9. Women & 
minorities encouraged. 

Legacy Intl Youth Program seeks videographers, 
instructors, editors for summer positions June 1 8 - Aug. 
18. Intercuitural prgm deals w/ youth & adults in 
foothills of Blue Ridge Mtns. Non-smokers only. 
Contact: Marlene Ginsberg, Route 4, Box 265. Bedford. 
VA 24523; (703) 297-5982. 

Channel L Working Group seeks student interns & 
volunteers to assist in prod, of cable TV programming 
for spring season. Jan. -May. Intensive training pro- 
vided to all intern/volunteers in location camerawork, 
lighting, audio & portable video recorders. Positions 
for weekly, live call-in municipal talk shows, incl. 
producers, directors & asst. directors to be filled. Prod, 
experience also offered on special projects, e.g. docs, 
PSAs & training tapes. No previous prod. exp. required. 
Must be avail, at least 1 5 hrs/wk, primarily during days. 
Contact: Intern Supervisor, Channel L Working Group, 
51 Chambers St., Rm. 532, New York. NY 10007; 
(212)964-2960. 

Office MANAGER/Ass't producer: Award-winning ind. 
doc. film/videomaker looking for someone who wants 
to learn production, fundraising, distribution. 10-20 
hrs/wk. Work ranges from-the menial to intellectually 
demanding; possibility of eventual role as assoc. pro- 
ducer. Projects are video verite on homelessness and 
addictions. Scott Sinkler (212) 473-0795. 

Publications 

Whitney Museum of American Art prgm notes for 
current exhibitions in the 1988-89 New American Film 
& Video Series avail, free. Contact: Whitney Museum. 
945 Madison Ave.. New York. NY 10021. 

Foundation Centers new publications incl. Founda- 
tion Grants to Individuals ( 6th ed. ) S24 & The Founda- 
tion Giants Index ( 1 7th ed.) $55. Foundation Director} 
Supplement for updated info since publication of Foun- 
dation Directory in 1987. $50. Add $2 shipping & 
handling. Contact: Foundation Center. 79 Fifth Ave., 
Dept. LX, New York, NY 10003; (800) 424-9836. 



MARCH 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 37 




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APRIL 1989 



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THE LIMITS OF ART 

YOKO ONO'S FILMS 



A PUBLICATION OF THE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO AND FILMMAKERS 




More and more independent filmmakers think 
of TVC as a key part of their motion picture 
making team. Because our 16mm and 35mm 
film laboratory is the standard of movie industry 
professionalism and has been for over 20 years. 

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CONTENTS 



FEATURES 

1 4 The Plugged-ln Producer: Budgeting and Scriptwriting Software 

by Debreh J. Gilbert 

1 9 Walking on Thin Ice: The Films of Yoko Ono 

by Daryl Chin 

2 MEDIA CLIPS 

Threat of Sunset Funding Looms over British Media Groups 

by Patricia Thomson 

Window of Opportunity 

by Loma Johnson 

Back in the USSR 

Richard Roud: 1929-1989 

by Kathryn Bowser 

Sequels 

10 FIELD REPORT 

Setting the Stage for Public TV's Independent Program Service 

by Janice Drickey 

12 IN FOCUS 

Step by Step Postproduction Strategies 

by Bob Brodsky and Toni Treadway 

24 FESTIVALS 

Then and Now: The San Sebastian International Film Festival 

by Jonathan Rosenbaum 

Films on Fauna: The International Wildlife Film Festival 

by Emelia Seubert 

In Brief 

30 CLASSIFIEDS 

34 NOTICES 

38 PROGRAM NOTES 

by Karen Ranucci 

40 MEMORANDA 

Minutes of AIVF/FIVF Board of Directors Meeting 



COVER: Film still from Up Your Legs Forever (1970), by Yoko Ono. 
Yoko Ono's long career as an artist and filmmaker has always been 
overshadowed by her status as the wife, then widow, of John Lennon. 
Now, on the occasion of a retrospective of Ono's work at the 
Whitney Museum of American Art, Daryl Chin looks at her particular 
contributions to the avant garde. In "Walking on Thin Ice: The Films of 
Yoko Ono," he traces her roots in the Fluxus art movement and 
examines her feminist wit and challenges to the formal and thematic 
concerns of other avant-garde filmmakers of the period, such as 
Andy Warhol and Michael Snow. Courtesy Lenono Photo Archives. 




APRIL 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 1 



MEDIA CLIPS 



THREAT OF SUNSET FUNDING 
LOOMS OVER BRITISH MEDIA 
GROUPS 



Throughout the Thatcher years, Britain's non- 
profit arts organizations have been hearing that 
the language of subsidy is out and that of generat- 
ing revenue is in. Now. further changes in arts 
funding may be in the making, portended by 
several high-level reviews that were designed to 
examine the structure, rationale, and results of 
public arts funding. 

"Money is getting very tight," explains Irene 
Whitehead, director of funding and development 
at the British Film Institute (BFI). "There's a 
feeling in government that the arts ought to do 
business like everyone else. It's happening in 
education; it's happening in health: it's happening 
in local government. I think the arts are being 
swept along in a political ideology." 

This political climate, plus a variety of other 
factors — shrinking appropriations, new grant al- 
location guidelines for funders, personnel and 
structural changes at the BFI and the Arts Council 
of Great Britain, and, according to some sources, 
a desire to rein in organizations considered too 
liberal for the large institutional funders' taste — 
have all contributed to the timing of these reviews, 
which are scrutinizing both individual media 
organizations and the funding agencies them- 
selves. 

So far, one institutional fatality has resulted: 
the Society for Education in Film and Television 
(SEFT). For over 30 years SEFT acted as an in- 
formation and service network for media teach- 
ers, organized conferences and seminars, and 
published a mail-order booklist and Initiatives, a 
small media education magazine targeted at teach- 
ers. In addition. SEFT w as the publisher of Screen. 
an internationally prominent film and video jour- 
nal which in the 1970s developed into a flagship 
for New Left cultural theory and politics. On the 
basis of recommendations by the consultants hired 
by the BFI to conduct the review, the BFI decided 



The British film/video journal 
Screen will be under new owner- 
ship when it moves from London 
to Scotland this fall. Screen's 
former publisher, the Society for 
Education in Film and Television, 
was forced to close its doors after 
the BFI withdrew funding. 



to w ind up its support of SEFT, which was about 
£6 1 .000— half of SEFT's total revenues and all of 
its grant aid. SEFT closed its doors on February 28 
and Screen was handed over to a new owner, the 
Baird Center in Glasgow, Scotland. 

"Screen's future is safe," says its former editor, 
Mandy Merck, who was closely involved in the 
negotiations to keep Screen alive and have it affil- 
iated with an academic instititution. The Baird 
Center is a film/television graduate studies center 
shared by the University of Glasgow and the 
University of Strathclyde. As of October, when 
the journal is scheduled to move to Scotland, its 
content will be overseen by a reconstituted edito- 
rial board, which will work closely with the new 
managing editor. The board will consist of the 
codirectors of the Baird Center. Simon Frith and 
John Caughie. and two other faculty members, 
Annette Kuhn and Norman King. There will also 
be a larger advisory board which, according to 
Frith, might include some of Screen's past board 
members. 

The report on SEFT was conducted by Come- 
dia Consultants, a former left-of-center publish- 
ing group that went out of business several years 
ago and resurfaced as consultants. Their report on 
SEFT's management, administration, finance, and 
long-term vision is extremely critical. Some prob- 



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THE LAST SPECIAL BSUE'ON RACE? | 



FILM & VI DEO M ONTH LY 

ItOEPENXNr 



APRIL 1989 

VOLUME 12, NUMBER 3 



Publisher 

Editor 

Managing Editor 

Associate Editor 

Contributing Editors 



Editorial Staff: 

Production Staff 
Art Director 
Advertising 

National Distributor: 



Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Patricia Thomson 
Renee Tajima 
Kathryn Bowser 
Bob Brodsky 
Karen Rosenberg 
Quynh Thai 
Toni Treadway 
Kelly Anderson 
Ray Navarro 
Ruth Copeland 
Christopher Holme 
Andy Moore 
(212) 473-3400 
Bernhard DeBoer 
113E. Center St. 
Nutley. NJ07110 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published ten times 
yearly by the Foundation for Independent 
Video and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 
9th Floor. New York, NY 10012, (212-473- 
3400), a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educa- 
tional foundation dedicated to the promo- 
tion of video and film, and by the Associa- 
tion of Independent Video and Filmmakers, 
Inc. (AIVF), the national trade association of 
independent producers and individuals 
involved in independent video and film. 
Subscription is included with membership in 
AIVF. Together FIVF and AIVF provide a 
broad range of educational and pro- 
fessional services for independents and the 
general public. Publication of The Indepen- 
dent is made possible in part with public 
funds from the New York State Council on 
the Arts and the National Endowment for 
the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be re- 
turned unless a stamped, self-addressed 
envelope is included. No responsibility is as- 
sumed for loss or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be 
addressed to the editor. Letters may be ed- 
ited for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foun- 
dation for Independent Video and Film, 
Inc., except where otherwise noted. 
Reprints require written permission and ac- 
knowledgement of the article's previous 
appearance in The Independent. ISSN 0731- 
5198. The Independent is indexed in the 
Alternative Press Index. 

Z Foundation for Independent Video and Film. Inc 1989 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, ex- 
ecutive director; Ethan Young, membership/ pro- 
gramming director; Kathryn Bowser, festival bureau 
director. Morton Marks, audio/business manager; Sol 
Horwitz, Short Film Showcase project administrator; 
Kelly Anderson, administrative assistant 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Robert Aaronson. 
Adrianne Benton , Skip Blumberg (treasurer) . Christine 
Choy, Loni Ding (vice-president). Lisa Frigand." Dai Sil 
Kim-Gibson. Wendy Udell (secretary). Regge Life 
(chair), Tom Luddy." Lourdes Portillo. Robert Richter 
(president). Lawrence Sapadin (ex officio). Steve 
Savage." Deborah Shaffer. John Taylor Williams ' 

' FIVF Board of Directors only 



2 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1989 



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PRODUCTION NEEDS. 




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Vancouver: 604/684-8535 




Four times a year Black Film 
Review brings you the world of 
Black film. News about and inter- 
views with Black filmmakers 
from the U.S., the Caribbean, 
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And more: Reviews, from a Black 
perspective, of Hollywood films. 
Forums on Black images in film 
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lems ii cites are unique to SEFT; others, the report 
slates, "are by no means uncommon in organiza- 
tions influenced and moulded by the ideologies of 
the post '68 era." Comedia identifies the tug-of- 
uar between "high theorists" and "media educa- 
tionalists" w hich has plagued the organization for 
years. This "institutional schizophrenia." accord- 
ing to the report, not only created public confusion 
about SEFT's purpose and sympathies, but also 
resulted in an internal stalemate. Lacking consen- 
sus about its direction, SEFT did not make the 
changes that were necessary, in Comedia's view, 
to move into the 1980s and accommodate itself to 
the Thatcher era — a recurrent theme in the report. 
While Comedia applauds SEFT's past achieve- 
ments, such as playing "a major role in putting 
film studies on the map." it ultimately sees SEFT 
as a victim of its own success. The organization 
has not been able to meet the growing demands 
placed on it. Comedia argues, because it has failed 
to make the necessary transition from being "a 
voluntary body to one that is professionally man- 
aged." 

But more detrimental than the criticisms of 
office and management practices is Comedia's 
position that by not accepting "the realities" of 
Britain under Thatcher. SEFT has outlived its use- 
fulness. Comedia writes. "The Society's identity 
and ethos were classic products of the post "56/'68 
political/cultural agendas. Crucially this meant a 
world view, which saw cultural politics as THE 
fundamental axis of social change... SEFT's sense 
of purpose and direction were inextricably linked 
to the wide political/governmental climate... [A] 
gradual process of disorientation [occurred] after 
'79/80. as that wider political landscape started to 
change — unravelling many of the assumptions 
and certainties that had marked the Society's 
zenith. Secondly, it involved a continued stress on 
a mode of libertarian activism which left SEFT 
badly placed in organizational terms for the 
demands of the 1980s." The report gives only 
brief mention to the problems that SEFT staff 
identified when talking to Comedia: shrinking 
grants, mixed messages from funders. govern- 
ment policies, an unfavorable exchange rate, and 
the executive board of directors. 

What Comedia recommends as a more appro- 
priate mode of behavior within the current climate 
is a greater emphasis on earned income and mar- 
keting. In the section "Beyond SEFT — a sketch of 
the future." Comedia outlines a plan for replacing 
SEFT with an organization that would be more 
conscious of its "social market," and would offer 
its services on a contractual basis. This form of 
"service provision' enhances the organization's 
self-esteem, whereby it acts as a professional 
equal. (The funder as a client for services and the 
organization), rather than as supplicant." 

BFI is moving ahead with another study that 
will analyze media teachers' needs and the best 
organizational alternative to SEFT. BFI will then 
provide seed money for this new organization. 
Some producers have speculated that BFI may 



have wanted SEFT closed in order to redirect its 
funds to BFI's Education Department. As Mark 
Nash, a producer and former Screen editor, ob- 
serves, by funding SEFT, BFI "gave birth to its 
own competition." Whitehead replies, "BFI 
doesn't benefit from cuts. They are not to privi- 
lege the institution." SEFT's funds "will remain 
allocated for media education. They will not be 
dispersed over BFI's budget." 

Two other reviews are currently underway 
which may have even wider implications for the 
media field. One, announced in December by Arts 
Minister Richard Luce and due in October 1989, 
is supposed to examine the structure of arts fund- 
ing at the top of the chain — the Arts Council of 
Great Britain and the Regional Arts Associations, 
both important sources of funds for independent 
media. The BFI is also among the organizations 
that will fall under scrutiny. 

Another study, commissioned by Greater Lon- 
don Arts (GLA) and due in mid-April, is focusing 
on the entire independent film and video sector in 
London. It is also being conducted by Comedia 
Consultants, together with Boyden Southwood 
Associates, a team formerly affiliated with Come- 
dia. They are being asked to provide the GLA and 
the other major funding bodies in the steering 
group — BFI. London Borough Grants Scheme, 
Channel Four, and the Arts Council — with "an 
audit of work and equipment in the sector and 
strategic development plans or options" so that 
the funders can subsequently pinpoint redundan- 
cies in organizations' activities and devise an 
integrated strategy for funding film and video in 
London. As Whitehead speculates, "It's quite 
likely that the audit will come up with the recom- 
mendation that we should provide funds to a 
smaller number of groups than we are currently 
funding. So certain groups will fall by the wayside 
or merge w ith other groups or may be funded by 
another source." While Comedia Consultants have 
been characterized as "hatchet men" by many 
independent producers, they are listened to by 
funders — as the outcome of SEFT shows. Their 
critique of SEFT could well be a harbinger of the 
London sector report. Based on the signs evident 
at a meeting Comedia/Boyden Southwood held 
last January with independents in preparation for 
this study, they have not modified their belief that 
all leftist organizations are managerially inept and 
must now look toward earned income and market- 
ing savvy to survive. 

Another review in progress, instigated by the 
BFI, is of the Independent Film. Video. Photogra- 
phy Association (IFVPA), a national membership 
organization which has received significant BFI 
support. According to Alison Butler. IFVPA's 
director, the BFI is allowing them to undertake a 
self-review. IFVPA is looking at their changing 
constituency and how they might restructure to 
better serve independents — and to survive into 
the 1990s. "If they come up with a sensible 
scheme," says Whitehead, "they will be getting 
£32.000 in the next financial vear" — a sum which 



4 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1989 








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EVERYONE THOUGHT NOBODY LISTENED 

WAS SHOT IN 35mm. 
ONLY WE KNEW IT WASN'T 

Budget constraints made them shoot in 16mm. 

Then they had to use a lot of archival footage. 

In 35mm, in 16mm. Much of it in a sorry condition. 

Some material had been transferred to video— 

several times, generation after generation. In spite 

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film festivals. 

NOBODY LISTENED, the film by Nestor Almendros 

and Jorge Ulla about human rights. 

We at Du Art did the blow-up, from 16mm to 35mm. 

And we've got everyone listening now. 

To what the film says, not what went into it. 



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DO YOU WANT TO 

MAKE FILMS 

OR SIT IN A CLASSROOM? 

If you want to make films, our 

intensive, interdisciplinary 8-week 

summer program is for you. A special 

program in the radical art of 

filmmaking considered and practiced 

as an avant-garde experimental 

enterprise. The poetics of film, the 

energy of narrative, the "art of 

vision" — these are the aesthetic 

considerations of this great 

modern art form. 

BEAN 
INDEPENDANT FILMMAKER 

Summer 1989 
June 26 - August 18 

Milton Avery 
Graduate School of the Arts 

at 

EARD 

COLLEGE 

Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504 
(914)758-6822 x-483 



is on par w ith past annual amounts "This w ill con- 
tinue one \ ear. then, the BFI has asked the organi- 
zation to look for methods to generate more in- 
come, so they can reduce their reliance on sub- 
sidy ." This incipient pattern of phasing out grant 
support has been graced with the ephemism "sunset 
funding." 

The growing emphasis on earned income is 
largely due to government pressure, according to 
the funders. whose own revenues are at a stand- 
still. BFI"s budget, slated to increase three percent 
next fiscal year, lags well behind the seven per- 
cent inflation rate. In addition, the government is 
now requiring that BFI use a designated portion of 
its re\enues as "incentive funds." with every 
pound from BFI matched by two pounds from the 
private sector or new income. Thus, according to 
Whitehead. BFI's shift in emphasis from on- 
going organizational support to seed money, per- 
project support, and matching funds "isn't exactly 
a free choice." BFI has set certain priorities for its 
shrinking organizational grants. These include 
exhibition and the Black film and video organiza- 
tions Black Audio Film Collective. Ceddo. Re- 
take, Sankofa. and the Association of Black Work- 
shops. 

Several groups funded by the BFI. however, 
have encountered further difficulties when other 
funding sources drop out. For instance, last year 
BFI reluctantly withdrew its support of the 
Women's Film and Television Network after 
WFTN's other primary funding source, the Lon- 
don Borough Grants Scheme, terminated its 
£27.000 grant. WFTN was unable to find a re- 
placement source and BFI was not willing to make 
up the difference, so the network folded. Simi- 
larly, organizational support from Channel Four 
is increasingly precarious. This has many of the 
Channel Four-funded workshops — including 
some of the Black film/video groups — worried 
about what BFI might do in the event of a work- 
shop being disenfranchised by the television net- 
work. The government's recent White Paper on 
the broadcasting industry advocating its commer- 
cialization only adds to the problem [see "Euro- 
pean Broadcasting: New Rules. Old Game" in 
"Media Clips." March 1989]. 



Will there come a time when revenue funding 
for media arts organizations ceases? In White- 
head's view. "It's hard for any arts funder to 
believe this could happen. We cannot function 
without subsidy, because you'd never be able to 
provide for innovation, for different voices. What 
you're going to get is the film/video equivalent of 
the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Na- 
tional Theater, but you're not going to get Sankofa 
and Ceddo." Whitehead says she is "optimistic" 
that this won't happen, but adds, "one can never 
be sure." 

PATRICIA THOMSON 

WINDOW OF 
OPPORTUNITY 

The public profile of a new addition to the ranks 
of distributors handling U.S. independent and 
foreign films. Zeitgeist Films, is beginning to take 
shape. The New York-based company is the brain- 
child of Nancy Gerstman and Emily Russo, who 
entered into partnership last November. The two 
have a combined experience of over 20 years in 
film distribution. Gerstman was director of theat- 
rical sales at First Run Features for the past six 
years. Prior to that she booked films for the 
Landmark Theater chain and w orked for the Short 
Film Showcase, an NEA distribution project 
administered by Foundation for Independent Video 
and Film. Russo spent two years as a theatrical 
booker at Interama. Inc.. and previously worked 
as an associate producer on several low-budget 
independent films. To get their venture on its feet. 
Russo and Gerstman financed it out of their own 
pockets, with very little capital. They intend to 
compete with more established distributors by 
keeping their costs low. The staff, for instance, is 
composed of only the two partners. 

Gerstman and Russo select their films through 
the usual routes — film festivals, screenings, word 
of mouth. While in existence less than half a year. 
Zeitgeist has already gathered an impressive ros- 
ter of films. This includes Bruce Weber's docu- 
mentary about boxing. Broken Noses, and Let's 
Get Lost, a portrait of jazz trumpeter Chet Baker. 




A new distributor of 
independent films, 
Zeitgeist, has opened 
shop with a roster that 
includes Tony Buba's 
feature Lightning over 
Braddock: A Rust Bowl 
Fantasy. 

Photo Carol Treat Morton 



6 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1989 



NISSAN PRESENTS 




THIRTEENTH ANNUAL STUDENT FILM AWARDS 
IN CONJUNCTION WITH EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY 



This is your chance of a lifetime to 
make your break, win your share of 
over $100, 000 in cash prizes and 
Nissan automobiles and gam recog- 
nition in the film community. 

Enter your best work now. The entry 
you submit must have been produced 
on a non-commercial basis while you 
were enrolled in a U.S. college, univer- 
sity, art institute or film school 

NARRATIVE 
FILM 

Finished 16mm film. $4,500 awarded 
in cash prizes. First-place winner re- 
ceives a new Nissan Sentra. SPON- 
SORED BYAMBUN ENTERTAINMENT 
Board of Judges: Lewis Allen, Joe 
Dante, Nina Foch, Randa Haines, 
Randal Kleiser. 




ANIMATED/ 

EXPERIMENTAL 

FILM 

Finished 16mm film. $4,500 awarded 
in cash prizes. First-place winner re- 
ceives a new Nissan Sentra. SPON- 
SORED BY UNIVERSAL PICTURES. 
Board of Judges: John Canemaker, 
Ed Hansen, Faith Hubley, Chuck Jones, 
Harry Love. ^^^^ 

z® 

SCREENWRITING 

Original feature-length screenplays. 
$4,500 awarded in cash prizes. First- 
place winner receives a new Nissan 
Sentra. SPONSORED BY JOHN BADHAMS 
GREAT AMERICAN PICTURE SHOW. 
Board of Judges: Mansa Berke DVari, 
Tony Bill, Syd Field, Anne Kramer, 
Midge Sanford. 



FILM EDITING 

Finished I6mm film. $2,000 awarded in 
cash prizes. SPONSORED BY BENIHANA 
OF TOKYO, INC. Board of Judges: Lynzee 
Klingman, Carol Littleton, Tom Rolf. 




RENEE VALENTE 

PRODUCERS 

AWARD 

In honor of Renee valente, Honorary 
Chairperson of FOCUS and former 
president of the Producers Guild of 
America. Finished 16mm film. $1,000 
cash prize Board of Judges: Gale Anne 
Hurd, Alan Rafkm, Renee Valente. 



CINEMATOGRAPHY 

Finished 16mm film. $2,000 awarded in 
cash prizes. SPONSORED BY EASTMAN 
KODAK COMPANY Board of Judges: 
John Bailey, Allen Daviau, Jim Glennon. 



• 



& 



DOCUMENTARY 
FILM 

Finished 16mm film. $4,500 awarded 
in cash prizes. First-place winner re- 
ceives a new Nissan Sentra. SPON- 
SORED BY EASTMAN-KODAK 
COMPANY Board of Judges: Saul Bass, 
Lance Bird, Karen Goodman, Humberto 
Rivera, Ben Shedd 





SOUND 
ACHIEVEMENT 

Finished 16mm film. $2, 000 cash prize. 
SPONSORED BY DOLBY LABORATORIES 
INC Board of Judges: Gary Bourgeois, 
Charles L. Campbell, Donald 0. Mitchell. 



WOMEN IN FILM 

FOUNDATION 

AWARD 

Finished 16mm film or feature-length 
screenplay $1,000 cash prize. SPON- 
SORED BY FOCUS. Board of Judges: 
Judy James, llene Kahn, Margot 
Winchester. i ^»^ 



INSTITUTIONAL 
AWARDS 

The corresponding college or university 
of the first-place winners of the Narrative. 
Documentary and Animated! Experi- 
mental Categories of FOCUS will receive 
$1,000 in Eastman motion picture film 
and videotape from EASTMAN KODAK 
COMPANY for their film departments use. 




FOCUS AWARD 
CEREMONY 

All winners will be flown, expenses 
paid, to Los Angeles foi the FOCUS 
Award Ceremony, to be held August 29, 
1989 at the Directors Guild Theater 
Accommodations will be provided by 
The Westin Bonaventure Hotel 

COMPETITION 

DEADUNE: 
APRIL 28. 1989 

Get a complete set of rules from your 
English, Film or Commumcahons 
Department. Or write to: FOCUS, 10 East 
34th Street, New York, New York 10016 
12121 779-0404 

BOARD OF GOVERNORS: Lewis Alien • John Avildsen ■ John Badham ■ Ingmar Bergman ■ Tony Bill • Mitchell Block • Barbara Boyle • James Coburn ■ James A Corben. CAS • Jules Dassm • John Davis ■ 
Robert DeNiro • Stanley Donen • Richaid Edlund, A. S C • Fedenco Fellmi • Milos For man • John Frankenheimei • Robert Eelchell ■ Bruce Gilberl ■ Taylor Hacklord • Ward Kimball ■ Herbert Kline • Arthur knight • 
Howard W Koch* Barbara Kopple ■ Jennings Lang ' David Lean ' Jack Lemmon ' Lynne Lillman' Sidney Lumef Frank Perry Sydney Pollack' David Pullnam' Ivan Redman ■ Burl Reynolds' 
Gene Roddenberry • Herbert Ross • David F. Salzman • John Schlesmger • George C Scott • Stirling Silliphant ■ Joan Micklm Silver ■ Neil Simon • Sloven Spielberg • Peter Strauss ■ Jerry Wemlraub ■ Gene S Weiss • 
Bruce Williamson • Robert Wise • Frederick Wiseman • David Wolper • Peler Yales • Charlotte Iwenn HONORARY CHAIRPERSON: Renee Valeme AOMINISTRA HON: TRG Communications. Inc 
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The Suffolk County 

Motion Picture and 

Television Commission 

presents 



SUFFOLK 

COUNTY 

FILM & VIDEO 

FESTIVAL 

Call for Entries 

for 

1989 



Entry Forms: 

SUFFOLK COUNTY 

MOTION PICTURE/TV 

COMMISSION 

Office of Economic Development 

Dennison Building 

Veterans Memorial Highway 

Hauppauge. New York 11788 

516-360-4800 



b) Weber and Nan Bush, which is one of tins 
year's Acadetm Award nominees for Best Docu- 
mentary Feature. Tony Buba's independent feature 
Lightning over Braddock: A Rustbowl Fantasy is 
also on their list. Employing a combination of 
documentary and experimental techniques, the 
film takes an unconventional look at a dying 
steelmill community. So far. Zeitgeist's only for- 
eign film is Egg. By Dutch director Danniel Dan- 
niel. Egg tells the story of a town baker who courts 
a woman through the mail. 

Zeitgeist also has a distribution arrangement 
v\ ith Apparatus Productions, a New York-based 
nonprofit independent production company and 
collective composed of filmmakers Todd Haynes. 
Barr\ Ellsworth, and Christine Vachon. In addi- 
tion to producing work by these directors. Appa- 
ratus helps support other emerging filmmakers by 
pro\ iding production funds and script and budget 
consultations. Zeitgeist currently distributes three 
Apparatus films, most of which are narrative 
shorts. Cause and Effect is an experimental narra- 
tive of 1 1 minutes by Susan Dillon. Muddy Hands 
is a 24-minute work by director Evon Dunsky 
about a young boy haunted by the death of a 
friend. Julian Dillon's 32-mmuXe American Lunch 
is about blackmail between two friends. In addi- 
tion. Zeitgeist plans to distribute two other Appa- 
ratus films currently in production: He Was Once, 
by Mary Herstand. and La Devina. by Brooke 
Danmkohler. 

While they will distribute some foreign films. 
Zeitgeist's partners are planning to place more 
emphasis on U.S. independent work — both shorts 
and features. At this point, according to Gerst- 
man. they are "open to anything." Zeitgeist will be 
aiming at a diverse market, consisting of cinemas, 
schools, film societies, television, even galleries. 
They also have overseas rights for a majority of 
their films. Gerstman and Russo plan to distribute 
in a variety of formats, from half-inch to 35mm. 
Let's Get Lost and Egg are available in both 35mm 
and 16mm. All of the films can be rented on half- 
or three-quarter-inch video for classroom use. 

For more information on Zeitgeist or their 
films, contact Emily Russo or Nancy Gerstman at 
(212)727-1989. 

LORNA JOHNSON 

BACK IN THE USSR 

The Soviet Union recently opened its doors to 
foreign coproducers — the combined result of 
glasnost and the restructuring of the Soviet film 
studios' financing system. The Public Broadcast- 
ing Service series American Playhouse is taking 
full advantage and has already signed a deal to 
coproduce two films w hich will be released theat- 
rically in the United States and USSR in 1990, 
followed by a broadcast on PBS. The scripts are 
currently in development for the films, w hich will 
be "true coproductions." according to an Ameri- 
can Playhouse spokesperson, being bilingual. 



using actors and technical personnel from both 
countries, and focusing on U.S./Soviet relations. 

Tom Cole, screenwriter of Smooth Talk, will 
cow rite and codirect American Exhibition, to- 
gether w ith Soviet filmmaker Pavel Lungine. The 
S2-million dramatic feature will be based on Cole's 
experiences living in Moscow in 1959. where he 
u as a Russian studies major and worked as a host 
for the American Exhibition, the site of Nixon and 
Krusche v ' s legendary "kitchen debate." The story 
will focus on the main character's romance w ith a 
Soviet woman. A new film cooperative. A.S.K. 
(American-Soviet Cinematography), will copro- 
duce the film, which goes into production this 
year. 

The second feature. Odyssey, will be copro- 
duced by U.S. documentary filmmaker Lyn Gold- 
farb (With Babies and Banners) and her husband 
Anatoli Ilyashov. who wrote the short story on 
which the film is based and who is currently in the 
Soviet Union as a Fulbright lecturer. Their partner 
will be Kino Studio Krug. a division of Mosfilm, 
the largest of the USSR's studios. The director 
and scriptwriter will be American, with a Soviet 
writer contributing to the script. The $2.5-million 
film will be based on a story about disgruntled 
U.S. auto w orkers in the mid- 1 930s w ho move to 
the Soviet Union to start an auto factory funded by 
Henry Ford. The drama will focus on problems 
the families had adjusting to the changes in life- 
style. 

PT 

RICHARD ROUD: 
1929-1989 

Richard Roud. director emeritus of the New York 
Film Festival and its former director, died of car- 
diac arrest in Nimes. France, on January 15. Roud. 
a Boston native who lived in Paris, was the fes- 
tival's first director and shaped its early direction. 
He continued to exert an important influence on 
the event for over 25 years. 

Roud is widely credited with affecting the 
work of a generation of filmmakers by exposing 
them to his programming taste, which often fa- 
vored new European cinema. He also helped to 
bui Id a premiere event, and its prestige was recog- 
nized on the international festival circuit. 

Beginning his career as a teacher and the Lon- 
don correspondent for Cahiers du Cinema, he 
went on to w ork as a film critic for the Manchester 
Guardian. In 1959. he became the program direc- 
tor for the London Film Festival. Four years later, 
he w as recruited along w ith Amos Vogel to struc- 
ture the first New York Film Festival. He began as 
program director and chairman of the program 
committee. In 1 970 he w as named director, w ork- 
ing also w ith the New Directors/New Films series 
cosponsored by the Museum of Modem Art and 
the Film Society of Lincoln Center, which spon- 
sors the New York Film Festival. He remained the 
director until October 1987. when a controversial 



THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1989 



split with the executive director and the president 
of the Film Society led to his dismissal. The 
termination incited a heated debate and led to the 
resignation of some of the film critics on the 
program committee. 

Roud was also the author of a number of books 
on film, including/! Passion for Films, on Cine- 
mateque Francais founder Henri Langlois, and 
Straub, his study of German director Jean-Marie 
Straub. Roud continued as a European consultant 
to the festival and at the time of his death was also 
working on an August series celebrating the French 
New Wave cinema for the Film Society. 

KATHRYN BOWSER 

SEQUELS 

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has in- 
dicated that it intends to provide the S6-million 
earmarked by Congress for the new Independent 
Production Service and the additional $3-mil- 
lion for minority programming ["Victory for 
Independents: Congress Creates an Independent 
Production Service," "Media Clips," December 
1988] by reducing the funds allocated for projects 
of its Program Fund. Specifically, CPB has drafted 
a budget that will diminish its Open Solicitations 
funding category by $3.3-million — 50 percent. 
At present, this is the only CPB program that 
funds independent projects not sponsored by a 
station. Other sources CPB will use to make up the 
difference are its Station Independence Project 



and funds for the major PBS series, like American 
Playhouse, WonderWorks, and Frontline which 
be would decreased $1.6-million. 

□ □ □ 

Now that the United States finally signed the 
Berne Convention, the international copyright 
treaty ["The Limits of Copyright: Moral Rights 
and the Berne Convention," May 1988], authors 
of intellectual and creative property will need to 
consider the implications of the European Eco- 
nomic Community's decision to lift some copy- 
rights restrictions among member countries come 
1992. That is the year when all economic barriers 
in the EEC will be entirely dismantled. The effect 
on film and video producers is contained in a 
recent "Green Paper," entitled "Television with- 
out Frontiers," which recommends that transmis- 
sion of audiovisual properties within the EEC not 
be limited by national frontiers. Under this scheme, 
a broadcaster could obtain a license to air a pro- 
gram without the copyright holder's consent if, 
more than two years previously, the program had 
already been transmitted in one EEC country and 
no license had yet been granted in the broad- 
caster's country. An EEC commission would deter- 
mine the amount of payment to the copyright 
holder for these rights. 

□ □ □ 

Last year's Congressional battle that led to adop- 
tion of a modified version of the Berne Conven- 



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tion entailed lengthy and impassioned debates 
about a director's right to prevent colorization of 
her or his films. Although the treaty approved by 
the Senate deleted the provisions that protect an 
artist's moral rights — the relevant provision in 
the copyright convention — Congress decided to 
establish a National Film Preservation Board. The 
board is authorized to recommend up to 25 works 
per year to be included in a National Film Registry 
of "culturally significant" films. The members of 
the first Film Preservation Board are John Belton, 
Society of Cinema Studies; J. Nicholas Counter 
3rd, Alliance of Motion Picture and Television 
Producers; William Everson. Department of Cin- 
ema Studies at New York University; Edward 
Fritts. National Association of Broadcasters; Gene 
Jankowski, American Film Institute; Fay Kanin, 
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; 
David Kerr, National Society of Film Critics; 
George Kirgo, Writers Guild of America; Ben 
Levin, University Film and Video Association; 
Roddy McDowall, Screen Actors Guild; Franklin 
Schaffner, Directors Guild of America; Howard 
Suber, Department of Theater, Film, and Televi- 
sion at the University of California, Los Angeles; 
and Jack Valenti, Motion Picture Association of 
America. 




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APRIL 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 9 



FIELD REPORT 



SETTING THE STAGE FOR PUBLIC TV'S 
INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION SERVICE 



Janice Drickey 



When independent film- and \ ideomakers gath- 
ered on a cold e\ening last January in an even 
colder lecture hall at the University of California. 
Los Angeles, to hear about public television's 
newly authorized Independent Production Serv- 
ice (IPS), a feeling of cautious jubilation swept 
along the participants and kept them talking about 
the project long into the night. The next day . in a 
ballroom of the elegant Registry Hotel in Univer- 
sal City, the Telev ision Press Critics Association 
aNo got an opportunity to learn about the IPS from 
Lawrence Sapadin and Laurence Daressa. co- 
chairs of the National Coalition of Independent 
Public Broadcasting Producers. 

The difference between the IPS and existing 
sources of funding for independent production 
w ithin the public broadcasting system, the Coali- 
tion leaders emphasized, lies in the IPS' mandate 
to de\ elop new programming that "involves crea- 
te e risks and addresses the needs of unserved and 
ur.derserx ed audiences." As a programming sen. - 
ice rather than a fund. IPS w ill package, promote, 
and distribute works in addition to commission- 
ing them. Sapadin and Daressa explained. While 
the independents and television critics welcomed 
the idea of the IPS as a fresh alternative to what 
broadcast historian Erik Barnouw dubbed the 
"splendidly safe"' programming of the Public 
Broadcasting Service, the Los Angeles meetings 
ga\ e both groups a chance to voice questions and 
concerns. 

The public meeting of independent producers 
at UCLA — co-sponsored by the UCLA Film and 
Tele\ ision Archi\ es. the International Documen- 
tary Association, the Independent Feature Proj- 
ect West, and Visual Communications — was the 
largest such gathering in Los Angeles in five 
years, according to Jeffrey Chester, a Los Ange- 
les-based publicist and one of the key activists in 
the campaign for the creation of the IPS. As the 
evening began. UCLA television professor Kath- 
ryn Montgomery welcomed the independents, 
calling the IPS victory one of the most significant, 
positive changes in the broadcast industry in the 
last 15 years. Montgomery praised the Coalition's 
work, but warned independents that continued 
political action would be necessary to ensure that 
their \ ictory would translate into lasting gains. 

While gratified by the v ictory . the independent 
producers in the audience were quick to raise 



practical concerns: How would the I PS be staffed? 
Would the IPS provide matching or finishing 
funds? What would the make-up of its board of 
directors be? Independent filmmaker Marco Wil- 
liams admitted he was more than a little anxious 
that, rather than functioning as a critique of the 
system, the IPS would instead be consumed by it. 
"Will the IPS simply imitate orduplicateCPB [the 
Corporation for Public Broadcasting]?" Williams 
wondered aloud. "How is it going to develop and 
maintain its identity, in terms of the objectives 
that it has ? Right now w e are very excited, but tw o 
or three years from now. will we be convening 
new meetings to find new money for indepen- 
dents 1 " 

For Judith Guskin. an independent producer 
and recent transplant from the Chicago area, the 
answer to Williams' fears lay in the participation 
and involvement of independent producers them- 
selves. "I'm very encouraged by the fact that 
we'\e had the victory, but I feel that it's very 
important to move ahead as positively as possible 
right now to try and bring in as many fresh new 
ideas from the field as possible, so that people in 
the field really feel a pan of it." The Coalition's 
Daressa agreed, adding that the group would 
lobby vociferously to make sure that the IPS board 
was made up of people "w ifh a commitment to 
new and different programming, not to corporate 
underwriting." 

At the Television Press Critics Association 
meeting, the issue w as raised in a slightly different 
form: Why shouldn't critics look upon the Coali- 
tion as the same kind of bureaucracy as CPB. in- 
tent on sending out its own message? Daressa ex- 
plained that the goal of the IPS was not to impose 
a single voice, tone, or concept, but. for example. 
to "select a single topic — immigration, the health 
care crisis, the challenge facing ghetto youth, the 
sixties, the Colombian quincentenary, aging — 
and illuminate it from a variety of ethnic, regional, 
political, and artistic perspectives." Sapadin con- 
curred, adding. "In a time of deregulation and 
concentration of media ownership that tends to 
shut out individual voices, the creation of an inde- 
pendent production service within public broad- 
casting is a breakthrough. We hope it helps restore 
an awareness of public broadcasting's mission, 
and that it is a bellwether of further successful 
efforts to increase diversity and innovation in the 
media." 

One of the most frequently voiced concerns — 
both by independents and by the television crit- 



ics — was that CPB w ould simply ignore the roots 
of the IPS. along w ith the needs that it was created 
to address. That. Daressa noted, was in danger of 
becoming an immediate problem. CPB. operating 
with a kind of revisionist imperative that prefers to 
forget about the bill's history, already considers 
the service their own creation to be dealt with as 
they see fit. Daressa said. He assured his audi- 
ences that the Coalition was not willing to take a 
back seat in the decision-making process that 
would determine the structure and operation of 
the IPS. 

Participants at both meetings were also dis- 
trustful of the power and autonomy of the public 
television stations. Once the alternative programs 
were produced by the IPS. how could it guarantee 
that stations w ould show them? Sapadin responded. 
"It's one thing to say. "Would you put S200.000 in 
it?' It's another thing to say, 'Here it is. Now are 
you going to run it?" We believe that the natural 
and inherent conservatism of these people will be 
overcome when they see the quality of the pro- 
grams." Daressa admitted that public television 
stations w ho have fallen into the ratings mentality 
that justifies scheduling Leave It to Beaver reruns 
would prefer that the IPS "went away." But to 
counteract that. Daressa continued, additional 
funding for promotion and publicity were built 
into the IPS package. "We persuaded Congress to 
instruct CPB to provide us with the funds to back 
up our shows with national publicity campaigns 
more ambitious than any thing the stations them- 
selves could undertake for such 'marginal' pro- 
gramming." Daressa explained. "Innovative pro- 
gramming designed to build audiences, obviously, 
requires special packaging and promotion." he 
added. "We now have a program service which 
w ill take the time and money to do that." And if 
stations refuse to air the programming, in spite of 
the publicity? "Local viewers and press critics 
should ask why they are being denied access to 
this kind of programming." Daressa exhorted his 
audiences. "Congress could well ask why it should 
continue to subsidize a system which discrimi- 
nates against programming diversity." he said. 
Jackie Kain, director of broadcasting at the Los 
Angeles public television station KCET stated 
that she could not speak for station management 
as a whole but that she was "waiting to see the 
programs, and I hope they 're good." adding. "And 
I hope they take some chances." 

There w as general dismay among the indepen- 
dents ov er the amount of the funding for IPS — $6- 



10 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1989 



million each year for three years — less than the 
cost of most feature films. Bernard Nicholas, an 
independent producer who had been charting the 
progress of the IPS for some time, said that the 
meeting brought him a "revelation" about the 
effort. "If everyone starts concentrating on this six 
million dollars, instead of concentrating on all of 
PBS, which we have a right to be funded by, then 
[IPS] could well have become a bone thrown at us 
to distract us," he said. "It seems that it's not 
entirely cynical to expect that IPS could become 
the ghetto for the independent producers." De- 
spite such concern, Nicholas said that he finds the 
possibilities inherent in an independent produc- 
tion service encouraging. "I have faith," he af- 
firmed. "Because of the people who have been 
involved with it consistently, something good will 
come from it." 

Suggestions about possible ways of distribut- 
ing the funds were offered by the independents, as 
well as thoughts about criteria, such as a provision 
that shows be allowed to run "just as long as it 
takes," rather than limiting them to a half-hour or 
one hour. As one independent producer at UCLA 
wryly observed, "Nobody expects a book to be 
exactly 200 pages!" It was also suggested that the 
IPS avoid getting caught up in the matching funds 
game. "Give partial funding to filmmakers," one 
independent told the Coalition leaders, "but don't 
hold their project hostage." Another producer 
suggested that the IPS refuse offers of corporate 
support if the funder insists on exerting any influ- 
ence or control over the work produced. 

Before the Los Angeles meetings had drawn to 
a close, participants shared a sense of the urgency 
and expectancy surrounding the new program. In 
response to one independent who lamented, "By 
the time the structure gets going, the three years 
will be used up," producer Judith Guskin rose to 
her feet. "Let's not simply react to the CPB and the 
stations," she countered. "Let's move. Let's do it 
and do it well." Before she could sit down, the 
audience burst into applause, letting her know that 
they shared her zeal. Through hard work and 
perseverance on the part of the Coalition and its 
supporters, the independents and TV critics have 
been given what Daressa called "a chance and 
challenge todream again. "Judging from the sparks 
generated on that cold January night, the indepen- 
dents were ready — and more than willing — to 
take up that challenge. 

Janice Drickey is a freelance writer who covers 
the film and television industry in Los Angeles. 



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APRIL 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 11 



IN FOCUS 




STEP BY STEP POSTPRODUCTION STRATEGIES 



Bob Brodsky and 
Toni Treadway 



An the number of Formats used in media produc- 
tion has increased, no has ihe complexity of post- 
production. Until 1945, 35mm film dominated 
professional mo\ ing-image production. Now there 

are more than 20 formats: 35mm. 16mm, super 8. 
8mm. and more obscure film formats, tv\ o digital 
video formats, quad video, t>pes C and B. U- 
matic, several half-inch, reel-to-reel formats, VHS, 
S-VHS. Betamax I and II. ED Beta. Betacam, MI. 
Mil. Smm video, and. soon. High Band 8mm 
\ ideo. With this variety, planning forpostproduc- 
tion can present formidable obstacles. Every 
mistake can consume time and. in many cases. 
money spent for unnecessary or useless technical 
services, so costs may easily get out of hand. 
Therefore, it is essential forever) producer to take 
a step back from the exigencies of production and 
draft a master strategy for the next stage — post- 
production. 

There are two basic rules governed by the ul- 
timate goal of a particular production and two 
routes to realize these goals. These guidelines 
have taken shape during the many years we've 
worked with producers who. in preparing for 
postproduction, have assembled their source ma- 
terials and found themselv es try mg to sort out the 
advantages of the various formats available. Our 
recommendations also reflect our experiences with 
producers who. for a number of good reasons. 
want to use a variety of formats in making their 
work. Although there are other ways to obtain 
these goals, what we describe below is what 
proved to be direct and economical. 

nan 

Rule 1: If you want a film product or afilm and 
video product, turn everything (including video 
and all audio) into one film format, either 16mm or 
35mm. 

Route 1: Strike dailies with printed-through edge 
coding, edit a workprint. transfer all audio to 
fullcoat of the same format, cut tracks with pic- 
ture, mix audio to 35mm fullcoat and transfer to 
optical sound, have the original negative con- 
formed to the workprint. strike a composite an- 
sw er print, note density and color corrections and 
strike another one. approve it. if possible, and 
order an interpositive and/or internegative and 
from that strike distribution prints. Create, if 
needed, a one-inch video master — from a print is 
the cheapest, but from an internegative is higher 



quality. From a dubbing copy of the one-inch 
v ideo master create prev iew and/or distribution 
dubs in desired formats. 

The expense of this procedure is always sig- 
nificant. There are ways around certain of the 
steps, for example, mixing to 16mm fullcoat in- 
stead of 35mm. but the short-cuts haven't worked 
or worked well and have often resulted in even 
greater expenditures of both lime and money. 

□ □ □ 
Rule 2: If you need only a video product, transfer 

all your materials into the most highest quality 
videotape format yon can afford, including all 
film material*. Betacam presently offers the best 
quality-cost combination. If you have access to 
another high quality format for editing — such as 
Dl. D2. one-inch. MIL MI. or three-quarter-inch 
w ith v ertical interval head-sw itching — use it. We 
still maintain that S-VHS should not be used for 
mastering because head switching occurs in the 
vertical interval. While many broadcasters no 
longer object to visible head switching, some do. 
Until these broadcasters change their minds, you 
run the risk of technical rejection unless the pic- 
ture is digitally enlarged (which can add expense 
beyond what you saved by originating in S-VHS 
rather than on a format w ith vertical interval head 
switching). Whatever format you use. you must 
have time code striped on all these materials. Use 
SMPTE non-drop frame time code. 

Route 2: Have window dubs made from the 
master tapes. Have them made in a format you can 
most easily view. If this is VHS or video 8. fine. 
There is no substitute for view ing unedited mate- 
rial in the most convenient circumstances. If this 
format is not the same as that used by the off-line 
editing facility where you will make your work- 
tape, make a separate set of w indow dubs in that 
format. Store away the master tapes, standing 
them on edge in a plastic bag on a shelf in a room 
that's below 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 60 percent 
humidity most of the time. (Lower temperatures 
and humidity are recommended but most damage 
to magnetic oxide binders occurs above this tem- 
perature and humidity i. As an extra measure of 
precaution against audio print-through and the 
annoying pre-echo. store the tapes tails out at their 
ends. 

List each usable scene on a three-by-five card. 
Unlike film editors, vou cannot place each daily 
scene on a core and take it off the shelf above the 
flatbed to try out a cut. but arranging the cards for 
trial paper edits will help vou organize the trips 
through your window dubs. On the cards note: I . 
a scene description. 2. the time code numbers of 



the first and last frames in the scene, and 3. 
characteristics of this particular take or moment, 
image, movement, and sound. 

When the paper edit is satisfactory, assemble a 
work tape from the window dubs. Then make a 
dub of this w ork tape. You are now ready to make 
a second-generation edit. With one work tape in 
the player and the other in the recorder (it doesn't 
matter which one is where), preview tightened 
edits and rearrangements of scenes. Use the dual 
audio tracks to preview audio junctures and dis- 
solves. Do not actually make the edits unless you 
are convinced that they constitute improvements. 
Then perform them. This new work tape will have 
a disjuncture at the end of your first edit. Edit in a 
bit of black from the beginning to the end of the 
disjuncture. You don't have to dub everything 
again just to tighten a few cuts throughout a piece. 
If. however, you are going to lengthen or insert 
additional material, then you will have to dub all 
the subsequent scenes anew. At times you may be 
discouraged with the composition of an entire 
section. Then you may w ant to return to the three- 
by-five cards to attempt to visualize more radical 
rearrangements of the material. If you do. you can 
also use the original w indow dubs to recreate the 
section and insert this newly edited material into 
the work tape. 

Continue the above process until you have 
arrived at a final cut of image and rough audio. 
Then w rite dow n all the time code numbers for the 
first and last frame of every scene, including 
superimpositions. fades, dissolves, and special 
effects. 

Now is the time to edit the on-line picture. 
accompanied by very rough audio. And this is also 
the time to use the best quality formats and proce- 
dures you can afford. If all your time code num- 
bers are recorded on a computer disk that can be 
read by the on-line studio, you can increase your 
on-line edit efficiency at least three-fold. Virtu- 
ally all on-line facilities run from computer in- 
structions. When the your SMPTE numbers are 
properly fed to it from a prepared disk, the editing 
session moves along quickly. Check with your 
on-line facility to find out the cheapest way to get 
your numbers onto a disk their computer can read. 
Also, mark the first and last time code numbers for 
each cassette in broad pen on the label for that 
cassette so that they can be pulled quickly from a 
stack in the dim light of the editing suite and 
inserted into a player. When the on-line editing 
session is finished, you should have a time-coded 
complete picture master (and new continuous 
drop-frame time code) with rough audio and a 
three-quarter-inch window dub w ith both address 



12 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1989 



track time code and rough audio. 

It's seldom possible to go into an on-line edit 
with audio completed (except with animation- 
style work, where picture is designed to match a 
completed soundtrack). It is usually less expen- 
sive to create the audio track, or at least fine tune 
it. after the picture edit is done (locked in). In 
recent years, the advent of low-cost multi-track 
audio recorders that will slave to time code has 
made it possible to create superior soundtracks for 
video. Take a three-quarter-inch time-coded copy 
of your finished picture and rough audio to a 
SMPTE audio house or to the audio section of 
your on-line studio. Here you will lay onto a 
multi-track audiotape the time code and rough 
audio. Next you will replace as much of the 
original audio (and voiceovers or narration) as 
needed in exact synchronization with the rough 
audio. This is not difficult since the three-quarter- 
inch cassette runs in sync with the multi-track 
recorder (the multi-track slaves itself to the the 
time code on the video cassette). Then you will 
add ambient (room tone) sound effects and, if 
desired, music. Finally, you will mix the separate 
audio tracks down to one or several tracks across 
the multi-track tape or onto a separate recorded 
locked in sync (using the same time code) with the 
multi-track. 

Return to the on-line studio (or another studio) 
with a copy of the audio mix and the time code on 
an audio tape format which they can lock to the 
picture master. Picture and finished audio are 
married and a dubbing copy of the composite mas- 
ter from which your dubs will be struck is then 
made. 

Bob Brodsky and Toni Treadway are based in 
Somerville, Massachusetts, where they recently 
completed the third edition of their book Super 8 
in the Video Age. 

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APRIL 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 13 



THE PLUGGED-IN PRODUCER 
Budgeting and Scriptwriting Software 



Debreh J. Gilbert 



The informal survey I conducted in preparing to write this article — 
admittedly one whose standards fell short of a Harris poll — revealed 
four general approaches to computers among film- and videomakers: 

1 . The rare few w ho are completely fluent in computerese and able to coax 
amazing performances from software and modify over-the-counter products 
to suit their production needs. 

2. A much greater number who are able to manipulate masses of data 
successfully by using abundant creativity and good sense. This group favors 
clone computers, which are usually less expensive than the name brands. 
and pirated software. 

3. A variation on number two: buys software hoping to discover the ideal 
program for easing a multitude of tedious tasks, but leaves it on the shelf 
after realizing that mastering the softw are takes time. 

4. Those w ho still write scripts on a typewriter, figure expenses on a pocket 
calculator, and keep receipts in paper bags. 

Despite this range of attitudes and experiences encountered among media 
producers, none of those interviewed said they were opposed to a machine 
taking over the drudgery of their work. Robin Guardino. maker of the 
experimental short film Crossing the Atlantic, summed up the prevailing 
view: "In the pre-computer days I knew a lot of filmmakers who were 
wallpapering their apartments with scenes from scripts. And it was hell 
writing proposals on a typewriter." 

Nonetheless several formidable obstacles discourage some independent 
film/videomakers. Besides money — computers and their accessories can 
involve a hefty investment — the complexity of much software can stymie 
the desire to harness computers for low -budget media projects. Some film/ 
videomakers also complain that the available software isn't readily adapt- 
able to the nature of their unconventional projects. The software that seems 
most popular among film/videomakers. then, is that which is most easily 
adapted and accompanied by on-going support for problem-solving from 
the manufacturer or distributor. 

Software now exists for just about every facet of film/videomaking. This 
article will examine a few of the products available for preproduction needs, 
and only two areas within that already narrowed field: budgeting and 
scriptwriting. Not covered are programs either specifically designed or 
adaptable for casting, scheduling, bidding, and story boarding. The film/ 
videomakers I spoke to indicated that budgeting and scriptwriting software 
were those which most interested them. Scripting and budgeting are also the 
preproduction areas w ith the greatest range of software currently on the 
market. What follows is intended as an overview, not a definitive list of 
products or an endorsement of any program. Instead, a variety of popular or 



much-discussed software is reviewed with an eye to offering choices 
between functions, prices, and levels of performance. 

nan 

Budgeting is perhaps the most tedious task faced by film/video producers. 
Time-saving software that is easily comprehensible and capable of 
fulfilling most budgeting needs does exist. Unfortunately, it's not cheap and 
it may not suit many independent projects. But there are also some alter- 
natives for those who don't mind making a little extra effort. 

The best budgeting programs offer a number of features that allow the 
user to create formats for recording expenses (i.e., wages, supplies, insur- 
ance) as well as printing these forms or worksheets as office records. This 
kind of software must also calculate expenses: one figure changes and all 
related numbers are adjusted accordingly. For example, if your budget 
jumps from the low-low budget into the low-budget category established by 
the Screen Actors Guild, the rates paid actors in your project must increase. 
When the higher rate is entered, every entry related to wages will increase. 
Tracking, another prerequisite of budgeting programs, is a feature allowing 
you to pull expenses in a number of ways, i.e., coded by date or by the name 
of the job. 

Movie Magic Budgeting, created by filmmaker Steve Greenfield and 
made by Screenplay Systems, is considered by many to be the most flexible 
budgeting program designed for film/video use. A "what if key allows the 
user to compare budgets for up to 1 6 different scenarios. One can enter costs 
of shooting in Carson City, Nevada, say, and a separate budget for a 
Singapore shoot and then compare them by "toggling." or alternating, 
between the two displays. Movie Magic also offers a library, where 
recurring budget information — such as standard union wages or the cost of 
equipment rentals at your favorite rental house — can be stored in a glossary 
unattached to any particular budget. Any future budget can utilize this 
information with one keystroke. Other programs have a similar feature but 
limit use of such standard information to only one budget document. In 
contrast, Movie Magic's library capacity is limited only by the size of your 
computer's memory. 

"Magic keys." the program's system for setting up macro commands, 
allows the operator to program one key for a series of commonly-used 
functions, which minimizes the amount of time spent entering data or 
consulting manuals. For instance, if you frequently need to retrieve a list of 
all fringe benefits (pension, vacation, insurance, etc.), one key can be 
programmed to produce such a list. "Movie Magic is the best all-around 
budget program available. It is easy to customize, and you can easily avoid 
extraneous functions." says screenwriter and script "doctor" Doug Dempsey. 
who is co-chair of the New York Macintosh Users' Film/Video Special 
Interest Group and has demonstrated the program many times. A demo at 
Productions Systems. Screenplay Systems' New York City distributor, 
showed the software to be fairly easy to use and logical, although several 
users told me that customizing budget forms to fit their needs was harder 
than it seemed. No manual was available for browsing at Productions 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1989 



Systems, and my sources said that the Movie Magic manual is too obscure 
for those who are only moderately conversant with computers. 

Kelly Stanford, production office manager for music video producers 
Ken Walz Productions, has been using Movie Magic for two-and-a-half 
months and has only minor complaints. When trying to make her printout 
conform to the American Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) four- 
page standard bid forms, she discovered this to be an "arduous task." The 
difference between Movie Magic's standard chronolgy of items and that 
required for the AICP's form necessitates a complete relisting of rows and 
columns and a new layout. She found the manual was no help, but in 10 
minutes' time a friend was able to teach her how to accomplish the task. 

Used by major studios like 20th Century Fox, Movie Magic can be 
equally functional for filmmakers with small budgets — if its $595 price tag 
isn't too staggering. The program may not useful for every kind of project, 
however. Joan Jubela, coproducer of the videotape Bombs Aren't Cool and 
director of Crack Clouds over Hell's Kitchen, allots certain amounts to 
budget categories — equipment, crew, etc. — working backwards from a 
fixed overall budget. Those who prefer this method may find many of Movie 
Magic's features extraneous. Jubela, for instance, thinks that "it would be 
like using a sophisticated calculator." 

For IBM PCs and compatible computers. Movie Magic requires 384K 
RAM (kilobytes of random access memory, which is, in lay terms, the 
computer's capacity to hold information; programs run faster and can be 
more powerful with more memory) and two disk drives or a hard disk. The 
printer must be able to perform with condensed or elite fonts. Macintosh 
computers require a minimum of 5 1 2K RAM, two drives or a hard disk, and 
Imagewriter, Laser Writer II, or compatible printing equipment. Sceenplay 
Systems provides a hotline five days per week to help users iron out 
problems as well as consult on ways to customize the program. 

Black and Hispanic Images, an organization dedicated to the develop- 
ment of Black and Latino feature filmmaking, recently bought Movie 
Magic. Jaime Vazquez, daytime equipment manager at BHI, mastered the 
software in two hours. "The beauty of this program is that you go from script 
to breakdown to budget with the same information," says Vazquez. He 
selected Movie Magic after comparing it with Budget Master because he 
saw an advantage for beginners in the icon-displays possible with Movie 
Magic when used with BHI's Mac. 

As Vazquez indicated, Comprehensive Video's Budget Master soft- 
ware is not available for Mac users. Written for IBM PCs and clones, this 
program features a handy automatic bold display for all items that run over 
budget. Like other budgeting programs, Budget Master allows the operator 
to track the same line items in the budget at different production sites. 
Although it comes with pre-designed forms, the user can easily modify them 
as well as create main budget sections. The forms contain space for as many 
as 600 entries, each with the capacity to track 1 50 expenses. And some users 
claim that the program runs faster than Movie Magic. 

The toll-free hotline to iron out bugs and help beginners with Budget 
Master is open nine-and-a-half hours every weekday. In New York City, 
movie mavens may have already discovered a computer set up to run a 
Budget Master demo at Applause Cinema Books on West 67th Street. The 
program comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Priced at $395, the 
software requires 256K and either PC-DOS or MS-DOS (DOS stands for 
disk operating system). 

Looking at a MacToolkit Production Budgeter screen, the program's 
three-tiered budget structure may seem confusing at first, but the form is 
logical and offers a complete presentation of information once it is under- 
stood. The lower half of the screen contains a detail section, where figures 
are itemized on "detail" lines — pay rates, hours, benefits, taxes for, say, a 
cameraperson. Amounts entered or altered at this level register automati- 
cally throughout the budget. Immediately above and occupying only one 
line on the screen is the category section. Here categories are broken down 
into units, i.e., a "cameraperson" unit. At this level the amount budgeted for 
and spent in this category is displayed. The top of the screen shows a top 
sheet, which gives a total figure for all underlying accounts. For example, 
when the cameraperson 's account is being examined, the top sheet will 



Producers can modify Budget Master's 
predesigned forms to match their own budget 
needs. The program, designed for computers 
using PC- and MS-DOS, allows you to define the 
major budget sections and sub-totals. It also 
has the capacity to track the same line items at 
different production sites. 



i - Ml I tuts with Expenditures 

3 - Fro* Selected Budget I ten 
4-011 Iteie Over Budget 
5 - By Account Code 
i - By Uendor Nine 
? - Suwwry Report 

8 - Reports will be sent to SCREEN 

9 - Return to Expenditures Menu 



BOW iftoM kegs, then press ENTER 



summarize budget totals for the entire crew. 

Budgeter claims an unlimited number of detail lines and all information 
is automatically saved unless the user executes a delete command. And it 
interfaces with Microsoft's Excel, a popular accounting or spreadsheet 
program based on rows and columns. Like Movie Magic, MacToolkit Bud- 
geter, by Max 3, also offers a device that lets users compare cost differentials 
for different scenarios by employing a toggle key that suppresses the costs 
of one location while displaying the costs of another. More than one user has 
complained that MacToolkit Budgeter does not have an "undo" key, nor 
does it have the macros or library features available with Movie Magic. 
MacToolkit Budgeter costs $750 and comes in both Mac and PC formats. 

Michael Lewin's A Clean Slate is yet another budgeting program, 
initially designed for budgeting and bidding AICP projects but potentially 
interesting to independents who want to use those standard industry forms. 
Lewin, cameraman and producer of commercial and industrial films, 
conceived Clean Slate as two separate programs — one to conform to Video 
Producers Association (VPA) bidding forms and another for AICP's — but 
has recently combined them into one piece of relatively simple software. 
Every Clean Slate screen highlights directions that walk the user through its 
system. Lewin has provided templates, or mini-glossaries, where informa- 
tion can be stored for repeated use — the crew section, for instance, contains 
standard union pay rates and graduated payroll taxes, and seven types of 
wages can be preset. Likewise, rental rates can also be stored and reused in 
the future. Setting up templates is fairly easy. Lewin designed a "utilities" 
menu that offers basic functions like copying, erasing, and renaming as well 
as "more options." This selection provides options for adding and coding 
templates as well as recalling already existing ones. 

Clean Slate features save and abandon functions for "what if scenarios, 
similar to those of MacToolkit Budgeter and Movie Magic. One can also 
compare estimated figures and actual expenses on the same page. Conver- 
sions of dollar amounts into six types of foreign currencies is possible, but, 
of course, these must be updated to reflect actual rates of exchange. Lewin 
provides complete technical back-up, either by telephone or in person. 

Anyone familiar with AICP forms can immediately put .4 Clean Slate to 
use. Susan Seide, assistant producer at the commercial producing company 
Eye View Films, has been using the program for 14 months. "It uses 
language that's a lot simpler than many word-processing programs I've 
tried to learn," she explained. "I can revise a budget in 10 minutes and write 
an entire new one in 15." Are there any problems with the program? "A very 
minor one," says Seide. "It does cents, and big companies don't like to deal 
with that." 



APRIL 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 15 



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.4 Clean Slate sells for S795, works with IBM PCs and compatibles, and 
requires MC-DOS or PC-DOS 2.0 and 256K. RAM. Lew in hopes to have a 
highly modifiable generic program for independents by mid-summer 1989. 

"The biggest problem with programs written for movies is they are 
written by people only half in the know." Doug Dempsey believes. "Produc- 
tion ends up having to conform to software. Pages and pages of software 
notes are useless." Because many programs earmarked for film/video 
preproduction are expensive or have more functions than independents 
often need, generic software — accounting, database, and word-processing 
programs — are what some independent film/videomakers choose instead. 

For his budgeting work, director, cameraman, and producer Stuart Math 
customized V.P. Planning Plus, a variation of the popular Lotus 1,2 J, 
which combines spreadsheets (columns and rows) with databases for IBM 
PCs and clones. Math, who adapted V.P. Planning Plus to bid and budget 
standardized 16mm film projects, says, "The problem is that a lot of 
prefigured programs have to take into account too many things. For 
example. I seldom have to pay SAG. but I have a lot of travel expenses." 

Sheila McLaughlin, director of the independent feature She Must Be 
Seeing Things, uses Excel. The main problem w ith Excel is that it takes some 
time to leam. Still others, like Kathryn High, who produced the videotape 
/ Need Your Full Cooperation, have successfully created simple budgets 
with the word-processing program WordPerfect (IBM PC, S395), which 
will automatically add number columns. Microsoft Works (Macintosh, 
S295; PCs. S 1 95 ) includes an application for database management/spread- 
sheets with 57 built-in functions, such as automatic recalculation when a 
figure is changed and the ability to produce charts, making it also adaptable 
for budgeting. 

□ □ □ 

If a well-wrought budget can be imagined as the stomach of a film or 
videotape, the script is surely its heart. And, for many film/videomakers. 
scriptwriting becomes a heartache when creative work is slowed by hours 
of manually breaking down scripts or tracking props from scene to scene. 
The search for software that will never separate a character's name from her 
or his dialogue, add "more"s when dialogue carries over from one page to 
the next and "continued"s when a scene breaks at the bottom of a page might 
seem easy — as easy as finding a program that produces two-column audio- 
visual video and television scripts. But it ain't so. The programs designed 
for scriptwriting are much quirkier than those available for budgeting. 

"My best advice for scriptwriters," says Doug Dempsey. whose credits 
include script consultant on the Karate Kid movies, "is to become well- 
versed in generics and stop trying to chase the perfect program." Indeed, a 
comparison of prepackaged scriptwriting software indicated major defi- 
ciencies. Learning and adapting popular word-processing programs like 
WordPerfect and Microsoft Word can be as easy as reading the manual and 
spending several hours with someone conversant w ith the program, accord- 
ing to film/videomakers who have done it. This method is greatly enhanced 



Movie Magic Budgeting is a flexible program that allows 
filmmakers to create and easily modify budget forms. Among its 
features, the program offers 300 lines of detail per account, instant 
recalculation, the means to build a customized ratebook with a 
library feature, and even allows calculations of fringe benefits for 
selected individuals, including separate cutoffs. 



Designed for video and television scriptwriters using PCs, Script 
Master takes care of column alignments, margins, and format 
details. Like the film screenplay software from the same company, 
it offers an on-screen directory and up to 40 macro commands. 



* File Edit Setup Tools library Jump Font Magic 



813-03 -- First Assistant Cameraman 



Description 



Prep 

Shoot 

Wrap 

MP ALLOW 

Total 



Amount Units 



27 

299 

13 50 

20 



Hours 
Hours 
Hours 
Days 



Rate Subtotal Q, 



23 80 
23 80 
23 80 
37 50 



643 

7,1 16 

321 

750 



8,830-:- 



^7 



IZ1 



Fringes 



■ 
DSAG 



13 5098 ■ Payroll Tax 
11* OS»l«sT 4 x 



6 6058 (3DOA 

6 5098 D Ag»M Ft. 



129! DDGAOthtr 
105B:DC«t 0/T 



20 209! 
2098 



O Budo«t O C»t O *«« ® "**9» 



(8>9B <J$ 



<&*Mm 




■■.-..:. S10.566.279 

Category 813-00 $38,748 

Account 813-03 $8,830 

Ranat Fryig*s $1,624 



by an understanding of how to program macro keys — which sometimes 
requires additional software. Dempsey suggested that the trick is to keep the 
dialogue "locked together" — in other words, to instruct the word processor 
to not divide a block of dialogue text. In fact, he also designed a blank 
document in word-processing language, which sets up pages according to 
his desired script formats. 

Stuart Math also favors word-processing programs for scriptwriting. 
After looking at several scripting programs, he decided to use his WordPer- 
fect 5.0 software instead. Although he had some difficulty getting the 
program to handle the two-column format he needed for the parallel audio 
and video portions of television scripts, he solved the problem by setting up 
left and right margins and maneuvering checkerboard fashion down the 
page using macros to speed up the process. For instance, after he has typed 
text in the video column he hits a macro key that is programmed to carry the 
cursor to the next blank line in the audio column. There are no macro keys 
on the keyboard that comes with the Mac Plus or SE, but Macintosh users 
can buy an extended keyboard manufactured by Datadesk that has program- 
mable function keys. 

Although I conducted 20 odd interviews for this article. I found no one 
actually using Cinewrite, a French scriptwriting system by Parisoft, and a 
representative at Max 3. the U.S. distributor of the software, said that no 
demos were currently available. The following analysis is based on several 
accounts from film/videomakers who have tried the program or participated 
in demos. Cinewrite is a word-processing program specially adapted for 
scriptwriting and designed to be combined with story board frames. Several 
people who tried it found no use for this feature, because scriptwriters do not 
move between script and storyboard when writing. These same reviewers 
said that Cinewrite is not particularly attractive as a presentation device 
because several lay out programs like PageMaker and Quark produce better 
looking material. 

Outfitted with page and document formats that can be modified. Cine- 
write produces standard film and television scripts. However, critics say the 
program is slow and uses too much memory. Its most serious drawback, 
though, is that the software's formatted script outlines cannot be easily 
separated from the text. In other words, these are read as one entity, which 



16 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1989 



* File Edit Search Format Font Style Special 



Screenplay Page 1 1 



_lZ O 



hoope 

(calls out to Landis) 
Sorry, man It slipped 1 

LANDIS 

(upset about being a human 

target) 
Baloney! You're lucky that I don't come 
out there and break your 3kull! 

HOORE 
(upset himself) 
Get lost i 

Enraged while still holding his bat. Landis flings it at 
Moore's feet Moore dodges the bat by hopping over it. Next. 
Landis charges the mound Hoore charges Landi3 Both benches 



ISffl 



X2 



m ta 

X4 XS 



3T 



X8 



a 



Ea 



o 



makes it practically impossible to save only the format. This creates havoc 
if the user tries to create personalized formats, although the program is 
advertised as having this capability. Additionally, formatting a script while 
writing involves many keys and becomes a cumbersome process. The 
program will import text from other word-processing programs, both those 
used by Macintoshes and the PC family, but warnings abound about 
Cinewrite's ability to accept some word-processed texts. The program costs 
$495. 

Comprehensive Video offers two scriptwriting programs — Script Mas- 
ter for television and Movie Master for film. Both offer a basic range of 
word-processing functions, including an on-screen directory and 35 macro 
commands preprogrammed with the option to add five more. The script 
formatting section has exactly what other programs of this ilk offer: 
intelligent page breaks (not between a character name and dialogue), 
formats for breaking only at the end of a sentence, and pages that never end 
with scene heading. "More"s are placed under broken dialogue and charac- 
ter names are continued. Both programs also reformat after revisions are 
entered. Like other scriptwriting programs, the program will break down 
scenes and track props. 

Some users say that Movie Master is more flexible than similar software 
and some of its features, like variable margin settings and customized page 
and type formats, are easy to execute. And the program has a reputation for 
running faster than other programs. Scripts written in Microsoft Word or 
WordPerfect can be imported and revised; scripts written in Movie Master 
and Script Master can likewise be exported. 

Script Master handles the synchronization necessary for television when 
changes are made in either of the two columns without retyping. Both 
software systems support most printers and require IBM PC or compatibles 
with 512K RAM and DOS 2.0 or higher. Assistance for registered users is 
available by calling a toll-free number, which is open nine hours on week- 
days. Comprehensive offers a standard 30-day money-back guarantee. 
Movie Master sells for $349; Script Master for $249. 

Scriptor, by Screenplay Systems, appears to be a disappointment, 
compared to the company's excellent Movie Magic Budgeting and Movie 
Magic Scheduling/Breakdown programs. Although the introduction of a 
combo word-processor/formatter dubbed Scriptor II is promised, the cur- 
rent version merely formats scripts written in other applications. Some users 
say that the program does little that cannot be accomplished with good 
word-processing software, with the exception of intelligent page breaks and 
insertion of dialogue and character headers or footers used in standard 
scripts. The few unique functions Scriptor does offer are difficult and slow 
to use. To make matters worse, the program requires Macintosh users to 
write in the 1 .05 version of Microsoft Word although 3.0 is the current and 
more versatile edition of that software. Mac owners must therefore convert 
Word 3.0 to Word 1 .05 before importing files into Scriptor. 



For Macintosh users Scriptwriter can be used to write letters, out- 
lines, treatments, formatted screenplays (seen here), and dual- 
column scripts. 



An additional feature offered by Scriptwriter is an automatic back- 
up onto a separate disk. 



•I S Edit Search Format Font Style Special 












fl/ll <.rrint PanP ? 




H , 12 


fluto Backup Delay Time lmin:sec) 


|7 . 


O 


t 

n 




O 


7 CUT TO S S 
(00 00 10: 


vail of 
our 
js and loar 

me the 
sderal and 

inks, 


00:15 G| |0| 
O Enable (8) Disable 


|g) Backup fili UJindouL** 

O &us:ki![5 *!< iinf WiMimm Only 


Default Uolume : HP™ 20 


(( OK j ( P"'»> ] 
Cancel 




X 1 


X2 


■2 

t 






NARRfi UCilCE MUSIC SF.< EFX Char 1 Char2 Char 3 |G 


srit 


*l 




IOQ 



Another contingent of users, however, swear by Scriptor, pointing to its 
widespread use in Hollywood. They acclaim its ability to generate simple 
script reports and extras like storage glossaries where sections of dialogue 
and formats can be copied and stored for future use. Available for $295, 
Scriptor requires an IBM or compatible PC, 256K RAM, DOS 2.0 or higher, 
two floppies or a hard disc, and any printer. Mac users need a 5 1 2K or more 
powerful machine, two drives or a hard disc. For the first three months after 
purchase free updates are offered. 

Scriptwriter, from American Intelliware, has gained a reputation among 
independent filmmakers during the last few years. Although I was unable 
to preview the program, several filmmakers offered me their opinions. Al 
Santana, director of Voices of the Gods, and Sheila McLaughlin said they 
are using Scriptwriter with their Macintosh computers. They both have 
older but different versions of the program and both are quirky. Santana, 
who is currently using the two-column format to write scripts for training 
tapes commissioned by the Port Authority of New York City, detailed 
several features he liked, including a built-in glossary, a function that allows 
him to find a page without flipping through previous ones, and automatic 
back-up on a separate disk. However, McLaughlin says that Scriptwriter is 
only an expensive — $495 — word-processing program. 

nan 

Although Tony Stewart's Home Office provides neither budgeting nor 
scriptwriting, it is a gem for freelancers. Stewart, a former filmmaker 
who specialized in public relations films for colleges like Colgate and 
Skidmore, designed this extremely simple, straightforward accounting kit 
that combines checkbook and business ledger management. The program is 
written to perform three primary functions: tracking expenses, creating 
invoices, and maintaining a contact and mailing list. With one keystroke, 
users can retrieve an item from any of the categories — expenses, invoices, 
or the lists. For example, once a name is entered in the contact list, it can be 
pasted onto an invoice simply by typing the first few letters. Itemized 
expenses can be entered by category (57 predefined categories such as 
"travel" and "equipment rental" are built into the program and 300 more can 
be added), date, or project. Expenses can be called up and attached to an 



APRIL 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 17 



The main "Expense Module," from Tony Stewart's 
Home Office. This program can keep track of ex- 
penses by project, date, payment, and category. 



Home Office, designed for freelancers who bill time and 
expenses, allows you to create your own invoice formats 
and keep track of payments, jobs terms, and itemized 
expenses. 



*• EDITING INVOICE NUMBER 89001A *•• 
Invoice Summary 



Style 1 













**• EXPENSES "* 








km 


Date Catg. 


Paym. 


Description 


Joe* Inv 


Pd 


456.00 


01/01/89 


01 


101 


January Rent 








36.54 


01/01/89 


IS 


102 


Gas & Electric -- January 








374.00 


01/02/89 


v2 


AMEX 


Round-trip, Seattle 


89001 


C 




17.50 


01/03/89 


VI 


Cash 


Taxi to Airport 


89001 






25.00 


01/03/89 


S2 


Cash 


Stamps 








125.00 


01/05/89 


V3 


Visa 


Holiday Inn, Seattle 


89001 






56.50 


01/10/89 


S2 


105 


Computer ribbons and paper 


89001 






25.75 


01/12/89 


El 


105 


Rangers tickets for Roger Smith 


89001 






15.00 


01/15/89 


*2 


Cash 


Gas purchased on research trip 


89001 


a 


• 


33.50 


01/15/89 


T1 


110 


New York Telephone 








14.00 


01/16/89 


H 


Cash 


Book: University Life 


89001 






22.00 


01/18/89 


R1 


Cash 


Book: College Life in America 


89002 






It.:: 


01/19/89 


T2 


114 


HCI Telecommunications 








55.00 


01/22/89 


El 


AMEX 


Dinner w/M. Guthrie, Skidmore 


89002 






6.55 


01/24/89 


Al 


Cash 


Xerox: promo flyer 








Sorted by DATE 








15 Records 


F1 Help 


2 Add 


3 Edit 4 


Delete 5 Goto 6 List 7 Sort 


<Esc> 


Exit 





invoice by typing the appropriate code assigned to the category, date, or 
project. Once tagged with a code, itemized expenses will automatically 
reappear on an invoice. And. if the user remembers to enter items once a 
week or as they are incurred, the computer will sort expenses into precoded 
categories at tax time. Mark Weingartner. a production electrician and 
owner of a lighting and grip rental company, says he does not like to sound 
like "one of those unbelievable testimonials," but "I used to agonize at tax 
time over opening up paper bags and counting 50.000 receipts and figuring 
where to put them. Now I can just enter them and Home Office will figure 
out where they go." 

Home Office exhibits flexibility in the same way a word-processing 
program streamlines the work of a typewriter, in so far as learning the ropes 
is not an arcane endeavor and what you see on the screen is basically what 
appears on the printed page. Devised for freelancers who bill time and 
expenses, the program's invoice format fits up to 10 lines of text, four lines 
for rate calculations (e.g., 7 hours @ S50 = S350). and unlimited itemized 
expenses. Home Office invoices can be categorized and personalized using 
35 different options, from the client's name to a tax-exempt number. 

A few gentle disclaimers prevail with this program. Those who use a 
black and white monitor will not find information about how to obtain a 
legible text on-screen at the front of the manual. Aho.Home Office will not 
support the newer series of 24-pin printers. Home Office is not designed for 
businesses based on inventory, nor will it do automatic payroll. Home Office 
is geared toward billing. Those who want to maintain full financial books 
with deductions or general ledger accounting should use standard account- 
ing software instead. 

Home Office is available only for IBM PCs and clones and requires at 
least 51 2K memory, two disk drives (or hard disk). It costs S99 and comes 
with manual, tutorial, and a 30-day money-back guarantee. Stewart will 
give advice to users who call, and he updates the program regularly in 
response to users' suggestions. 

□ □ □ 

After having wandered through this variety of software options, Mark 
Twain's phrase ".. .all the modern inconveniences" comes to mind. It 
is clear that we live in a technologically uneven age. For example, some of 
this article was written with a pencil. Critical theorist Herbert Marcuse 
recommended that we learn to use machines and not be oppressed by them. 



Job Name: Home Office 

To: Mr. Roger Smith 

Skidmore College 
100 University Lane 
Saratoga Springs, MY 11111 


Date: 01/16/89 

Job #: 89001 

lnv. •: 89001A 

Soc. Sec. # 000-00-0000 

Client P.O.: 54321 

Client Job * 

Tax Exempt #: NTS 12345 


Description: For interviews and research to develop the 

approach and script for "Skidmore, Concurrence 
of Ideas" 


Professional Fee: * 2,500.00 
Itemized Expenses: $ 465.00 
Expense Total: $ 465.00 


Sales Tax: * 0.00 
Please Pay: $ 2,965.00 
Balance Due: t 2,965.00 



F9 Previous Screen 



F5 Change Style F6 Tax Rates 



F10 Save/Abandon 



In One Dimensional Man he wrote. "Complete automation in the realm of 
necessity would open the dimension of free time as the one in which man's 
[sic] private and societal existence would constitute itself. This would be the 
historical transcendence toward a new civilization." In this same spirit, it is 
important to recognize the relative value of task- and time-saving machines. 
If they are too complicated for our needs, they can provide obstacles rather 
than freedom. But the first step is learning the machine's potential. The 
software considered here will make no significant dent in the course of 
world history, but some of it may make the work of film/videomakers less 
difficult and more satisfying. 

I want to thank Joe Chin from Dou Chin Electronics Systems, who provided 
technical advice and reviewed programs for this article. 

Debreh J. Gilbert is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to 
AsiaAm, Nikkei Art, ModelsWorld. Big Reds News, and the Village Voice. 

© 1989 Debreh J. Gilbert 



Software Sources 

Scriptwriter 

American Intelliware, Box 6980, Torrance, CA 90504; (213) 533- 
4040 

A Clean Slate 

Michael Lewin, Box 57, Kew Gardens, NY 14415; (718) 849-9672 

Budget Master, Movie Master, Script Master 

Comprehensive Video Supply Corporation, Heidi Cohen, 148 Veterans 
Drive, Northvale, NJ 07047; (201) 767-7990, (800) 526-0242 

MacToolkit Production Budgeter, Cinewrite (Parisoft) 

Max 3, 3021 Airport Way, #1 12, Santa Monica, CA 90405; (213) 398- 

3771 

Movie Magic Budgeting, Scriptor 

Screenplay Systems, 1 50 E. Olive Ave., Ste 305, Burbank, CA 9 1 502; 
(818) 843-6557 

New York distributor: Production Systems, Dan Richter, 1133 
Broadway, Suite 1428, New York, NY 10010; (212) 645-3140 

Tony Stewart's Home Office 

309 W. 109th St., 2E, New York, NY 10025: (212) 222-4332 



18 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1989 



WALKING ON THIN ICE 

THE FILMS OF YOKO ONO 




Yoko Ono positions 
one of the subjects 
of her film Bottoms 
(1966), also known 
as No. 4. 

Photo: John D. Drysdale. 
courtesy Lenono Photo 
Archive 



Daryl Chin 



The key to Fluxus was that artists were killing individual egos. At least, that was how 
I interpreted it. But in New York artists have very big egos. I was never really antiart, 
but I was antiego. Postindustrial society will be a kind of egoless society is what I 
think. Many people now are giving up acquisitiveness in terms of money and 
material comfort; next stage is to give up acquisitiveness in fame. Of course, Fluxus 
people, including myself, are vain and do have ego, I know that. Is very, very hard. 1 



-Nam June Paik 



□ □ □ 



Although Yoko Ono is one of the most famous people in the world, she 
remains one of the least known. Aside from her status as the widow of John 
Lennon, little seems to be known about her work, her ideas, her art. But her 
variegated career is finally getting serious attention. That, coupled with the 
controversies surrounding her public persona, makes Ono a particularly apt 
subject for an inquiry into a number of issues relating to art and the shifts that 
have occurred in the the last two decades. The recent retrospective "Yoko 
Ono: Objects, Films," at the Whitney Museum of American Art, has 
provided the occasion for a reappraisal of Ono's art, but this reappraisal 
continues to be hounded by questions about her personal life and her artistic 
integrity barked by the mass media. The whole relation of Ono to the mass 
media is curious, because her films do not address the mass media directly. 
Rather, the aesthetic dialogue that her films engage in is that of avant-garde 
film. 

APRIL 1989 



Consider one of her most famous works, the film/Vo. 4 (1966). If you've 
ever heard anything about Ono's art, you've probably heard about No. 4, 
which consists of a series of close-ups of people's bare bottoms. There are, 
in fact, two versions of the film: a five-and-a-half minute version, which is 
included in the Fluxfilm program, the other an 80-minute version. Indeed, 
there may be other versions as well. In the 80-minute version, shots of 365 
bare bottoms follow one another in rapid succession. The film is repetitive, 
with the image having very little depth of field. The film was shot with a 
camera attached to a treadmill: each subject would walk on the treadmill, 
while the movements of their bare bottoms were recorded. (The soundtrack 
consists of comments made while filming.) 

An argument can be made that the perceptual nature of the film is 
enhanced by the lack of depth on screen: after a while, the image becomes 
less important, the shock value retreats, and the spectator starts to notice 
subtleties in the variations — as well as other aspects of the images, such as 
the film frame and even the screen surface. Paul Sharits (who also had a short 
film in the original Fluxfilm omnibus) once commented on Warhol's early 
films: 

Andy Warhol has demonstrated in his early work that prolongations of subject 
(redundant, "non-motion" pictures), because they deflect attention finally to the 
material process of recording-projecting (e.g., to the succession of film frames, and 
by way of consciousness of film grain, scratches and dirt particles, to the sense of the 
flow of the celluloid strip)... is perhaps as revealing of the "nature of cinema" as is 
consistent interruption of 'normative' cinematic functions. 2 

In films like Henry Geldzahler (1964) and The Thirteen Most Beautiful 

THE INDEPENDENT 19 




In Apotheosis (1970, in collaboration with 
John Lennon) the camera follows the 
ascension and journey of a hot air balloon 
(carrying the filmmakers) from its prepara- 
tions on the ground to its emergence above 
the clouds. 

Courtesy Lenono Photo Archive 



Women (1964). there are simply "those close-ups where they did next to 
nothing." in Yvonne Rainer's description. 3 And so you become conscious 
of duration. The depletion of the subject mattermakes the material conditions 
of the film process the actual subject, and an anti-illusionist attitude 
becomes the viewing vantage point. So it is with No. 4. 

But for all the talk about the formal aspects of Ono's art. there's 
something else to discuss: her wit. and what it seems to mask. If Warhol 
focused his camera on faces. Ono (reversing his aims, both figuratively and 
literally) focused on anuses. And. of course, there is the obvious irony in 
terms of the sexual subtext of Warhol's work, specifically in such "portrait" 
films as Eat (1963) and Blow Job (1963). Just as, in his way. Warhol 
subverted certain canons of the avant-garde film, so Ono takes Warhol as a 
paradigm and subverts (one might say inverts) his work. (As P. Adams 
Sitney pointed out. Sleep was a literal inversion of the "trance films." which 
were a genre of the avant-garde film, exemplified by Maya Deren'i Meshes 
in the Afternoon and Kenneth Anger's Fireworks, films depicting the 
dreams and the impressions of the unconscious of a sleeping protagonist. 
Instead of showing the unconscious of his character. Warhol simply showed 
the sleeping protagonist. 4 ) There is. of course, the stinging irony: Whereas 
the faces in Warhol's films become his cinematic "objects of desire" (spe- 
cifically \r\Blow Job. The Thirteen Most Beautiful Women, and The Thirteen 
Most Beautiful Boys, as those titles indicate), Ono presents a succession of 
anuses as an ironic comment on Warhol's strategy. 

Writing on No. 4, Ono stated. 

In 50 years or so. which is like 10 centuries from now. people will look at the films 
of the 60s. They will probably comment on Ingmar Bergman as the meaningfully 
meaningful filmmaker. Jean-Luc Godard as the meaningfully meaningless. Antonioni 
as the meaninglessly meaningful, etc.. etc. Then they would come to No. 4 and see 
a sudden swarm of exposed bottoms, that these bottoms, in fact, belonged to people 
w ho represented the London scene. And I hope that they would see that the 60s was 
not only the age of achievement, but of laughter. This film, in fact, is like an aimless 
petition signed by people w ith their anuses. Next time we wish to make an appeal. 
we should send this film as the signature list. 5 

Although the whimsical tone is apparent, there is something else, something 
which is very close to rage, and that impacted emotion is often the occasion 
for Ono's particular social point of view. 

A case in point is Rape ( 1969). In that film, a young woman is selected 



(seemingly at random) and followed by a film 
crew. The title is figurative: there is no actual, 
physical rape in the film. Rather, the title refers to 
the idea of the girl's privacy being invaded; this 
violation is the film's rape. The film is a record of 
the encounter, as the girl, a foreigner in London, is 
at first hesitant, then flattered, then bewildered, 
finally frightened and angry. In a way, the film is 
a demonstration of Warhol's dictum that in the 
future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes, 
although this film stretches it out to more than an 
hour. The film can also be read as an exploration of Ono's own recent 
experience after her recent marriage to John Lennon. which had thrust her 
into exactly that situation where the paparazzi from the tabloids had begun 
to hound her. Rape, then, can be seen as an act of revenge, turning the tables 
on the public that had started to infringe on her privacy. But, of course, it's 
an unfair act of revenge, because the particular woman chosen didn't do 
anything to warrant this intrusion. So the film is a joke, but a curiously sour 
one. 

The same might be said of Fly ( 1 970). The film consists of extreme close- 
ups of a fly (actually several flies) moving across a woman's body, 
accompanied by a vocal score by Ono. The music, which is highly expres- 
sive, provides a motivational narrative which the viewer can infer. But the 
film is problematic: The flies had to be chloroformed in order to ensure that 
they wouldn't escape, and their slow, hazy movements are the results of 
being drugged. Sure, they're only flies, but the idea of living things being 
"pressured" into performing links the film (conceptually) with Rape. This 
aspect of the work also points to the undercurrent of hostility behind Ono's 
whimsy. The flies aren't merely humiliated (as the woman in Rape is); 
they're destroyed. The final image of several flies gathered on the body is 
clearly parodic. meant to evoke the sinister images of Hitchcock's The 
Birds, but it's also sinister, considering how the flies got there. 

Rape and Fly are films Ono directed in collaboration with Lennon. So. 
too, are Apotheosis ( 1970) and Up Your Legs Forever (1970). Apotheosis 
presents a situation, and derives its form and structure from that situation — 
Lennon and Ono in a balloon. The camera follows the trajectory as the 
balloon rises, and the movement of the camera is dictated by the movement 
of the balloon — from the mild hubbub of people surrounding the balloon as 
preparations begin to frames filled with the white of a cloud to the final 
image of the sky above the clouds. This last image was described by Jonas 
Mekas: "At that point, however, the balloon left the cloud, and suddenly the 
cloud landscape opened up like a huge poem, you could see the tops of the 
clouds, all beautifully enveloped by sun. stretching into infinity, as the 
balloon kept moving up above the soft woolly cloudscape.'* Apotheosis is 
foremost a film about camera movement reminiscent of the work of Michael 
Snow, particularly Wavelength (1967) and < — > (1969). That is. the ima- 
gery of the film is limited to the field of vision defined by the mechanism 
of the film's making. In Wavelength, that field is defined by a continual 



20 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1989 



In Rape (1969, in collaboration with John 

Lennon) Ono uses the camera as the 

aggressor, a situation that parallels the 

paparazzi's infringement of Ono's privacy. 

Courtesy Lenono Photo Archive 



zoom. In Apotheosis, it's the view from the rising 
balloon. 

For < — > and La Region Centrale (1972), Snow 
modified and customized camera mounting de- 
vices in order to get the camera movements he 
wanted. In < — > he controlled the panning of the 
camera on a tripod. In La Region Centrale, he 
combined a dolly and a crane that allowed continuous camera movement. 
Similarly, for Up Your Legs Forever, Ono needed a device that would pan 
up the different pairs of legs but would appear to be one long pan. She had 
the camera rigged so that every pan would be shot at the same speed. In Up 
Your Legs Forever, Ono performs at full stretch. The title is an obvious pun, 
playing on the phrase "up yours!" The repetitive nature of the imagery is 
grounded in the aesthetic ploys of duration, serial imagery, and stasis, which 
were such an important concerns of the art movements of the period. There 
is also a sexual agenda at work in the film having to do with the represen- 
tations of women in the media. (As an example, Mary Tyler Moore's first 
significant job in television was playing Sam, the answering service worker 
in Richard Diamond, shown only from the waist down.) Ono often turns the 
tables on her audiences, teasing them with a bland antagonism. Just think of 
the titles of some of her films: Rape , Up Your Legs Forever, Erection 
(1970). Put these titles on one bill, and the impression is one of titillation. 
But it's a joke. The "rape" of the title is psychological, metaphoric. The 
"erection" of the title (a film credited as directed by Lennon, in collaboration 
with Ono) is the construction of a building. If a woman can be judged in 
sexist terms as "a piece of ass," Ono creates a film that consists of "pieces 
of ass." 

What can't be ignored is Ono's anger, her barely disguised hostility and 
rage. I think there are any number of factors operative here, some of which 
are sociological and psychological; others are aesthetic and philosophical. 
In terms of the latter, this was part of the avant-garde sensibility of the late 
1950s and the 1960s, which gave rise to such art movements as Pop Art, 
Minimal Art, Conceptual Art, and, of course, Fluxus. The dance reviewer 
Don McDonagh, using Yvonne Rainer's Terrain (1963) as an example, 
wrote, "It was blunt, honest, puzzling, at times wearisome and, most 
importantly, it was different. Different because it wanted to pose a direct 
challenge to custom and didn't have the time to be subtle or polite." 7 That 
direct challenge to custom was one of the characteristics of the art from that 
period. And the compressed, pressure-cooked, compacted atmosphere of 
risk, camaraderie, and rivalry was always present — so that, in 1967, Ono 
could say of Wavelength that it was one of her favorite movies of the year 
and go on to parody and to subvert its formal qualities in Up Your Legs 
Forever. 

□ □ □ 

But what if that challenge is ignored? What if a valid artistic challenge is 
defused by condescension or patronization? Let's take two examples: 
Carolee Schneemann's film Fuses (1967) and Simone Forti's 1961 dance 




concert 5 Dance Constructions and Some Other Things. (These examples 
are not chosen by chance. In her essay "Happenings: An Art of Radical 
Juxtaposition," Susan Sontag listed 12 artists as among the primary creators 
of Happenings in the United States; Ono and Schneemann were the women 
in the list. Forti's concert was presented at Ono's loft as part of a series of 
alternative performances during the spring and summer of 1 96 1 . 8 ) In the San 
Francisco Cinematheque's journal Cinematograph, David James discusses 
how Fuses challenged traditional aesthetic and political trajectories. In 
particular, he details Schneemann's use of the forms defined by the 
Expressionist-oriented aesthetic of Stan Brakhage to extend and question 
those forms from a woman's perspective. James notes what happened: 
"Fuses became invisible, marginalized within and by the marginal cinemas 
of the time." 9 In his book The Rise and Fall and Rise of Modern Dance, Don 
McDonagh wrote about Forti, "In 1961 she moved to New York and in that 
year offered one of the most influential single concerts ever given by a 
dancer." 1 ° Yvonne Rainer (one of the performers in the concert) remembers 
the effects somewhat differently: 

Before her "retirement" Simone did complete her own "opus." It was An Evening of 
Dance Constructions at Yoko Ono's loft on Chambers Street (May 1 96 1 ) and proved 
to be way ahead of its time. I sometimes wonder if more feedback would have 
prevented her retirement. As things then stood, it was as though a vacuum sealed that 
event. Nothing was written about it and dancers went on dancing and painters and 
ex-painters went on making painterly happenings and theater pieces. It would take 
another two and a half years before the idea of a "construction" to generate move- 
ment or situation would take hold." 

The effects of that kind of silence can be devastating. This can be seen in 
terms of the lack of discussion that Ono's major films faced. I've tried to 
indicate how her films challenged the formal and the thematic concerns of 
avant-garde filmmakers from that period, in particular, Warhol and Snow 
(who were also visual artists-turned-filmmakers). Yet, aside from Jonas 
Mekas and the late David Bienstock, there was no serious comment on her 
films, on the sly, mordant, subtle way she skewed the avant-garde film to 
admit a specifically feminine wit. Remember, during this period (1966-71) 
Ono issued a statement that became notorious, "Woman is the nigger of the 
world." The conflation of racial and sexual politics to be found in that 
statement was (and still is, I think) shocking. Here is another statement by 
Ono, revealing her feminist attitude: 

I wonder why men can get serious at all. They have this delicate long thing hanging 
outside their bodies, which goes up and down of its own will. First of all having it 
outside your body is terribly dangerous. If I were a man I would have a fantastic 



APRIL 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 21 




V 



Left: Bottoms (also known as No. 
4). 

Courtesy Lenono Photo Archive 



Right: The camera's movement 
up different pairs of legs seems 
like one continuous pan in Up 
Your Legs Forever (1970, in col- 
laboration with John Lennon). 

Courtesy Lenono Photo Archive 



V 



castration complex to the point that I wouldn't be able to do a thing. Second, the 
inconsistency of it. like cam ing a chance time alarm or something. If I were a man 
I would always be laughing at myself. Humour is probably something the male of 
the species discovered through their own anatomy. But men are so serious. Why? 
Wh\ violence? Wh) hatred 1 Why war? If people want to make war. they should 
make a colour w ar. and paint each other's city up during the night in pinks and greens. 
Men ha\e an unusual talent for making a bore out of everything they touch. Art. 
painting, sculpture, like who wants a cast-iron woman, for instance. : 

nan 

This subversive attitude was not unique to Ono: it was an attitude common 
to many of the avant-garde artists of the time, especially those artists who 
participated in Fluxus. The period of the late 1950s and the sixties saw an 
veritable artistic onslaught, with many artists attempting to create works 
which would challenge and defy categorization. That's when Happenings. 
Events, things which people called Dance and Music that didn't seem like 
Dance or Music, or film screenings that turned into Expanded Cinema were 
produced and became notorious. In order to present these works, the usual 
categories of art spaces had to be flexible or redefined. That's why. during 
that period, there were a number of people whose art became a form of 
entrepreneurship. artists w ho organized concerts, exhibits, or performances, 
and numerous uncategorizable variations, e.g.. concerts that became exhibits 
or exhibits that became performances. Yvonne Rainer. Steve Paxton, and 
Ruth Emerson went to the Judson Memorial Church and arranged dance 
concerts there, which became the Judson Dance Theater. Jonas Mekas kept 
moving his Filmmakers Cinematheque. Beginning w ith a concert meant to 
highlight a Stockhausen piece. Charlotte Moorman went on to organize the 
Annual Avant-Garde Festivals. Moorman's only serious rival as an artist- 
entrepreneur-organizer was. perhaps, the late George Macuinas. the 
acknowledged center ( w ords like "leader" and "head" seem inappropriate 
to a man who once listed himself under the heading Action Against Cultural 
Imperialism) of Fluxus. 

What was Fluxus? In the simplest terms, it was an art movement that 
stressed conceptually-based art. (One of the earlier Fluxus works, the 1963 
publication An Anthology, edited by La Monte Young and Jackson Mac- 
Low, included an essay entitled "Concept Art." by Henry Flynt. I believe 
this was one of the first times "concept" or "conceptual" art was proposed.) 
Often characterized as "neo-Dada" in intention and achievement, Fluxus 
w as influenced heavily by the w ork of Marcel Duchamp and John Cage. (If 



the Judson Dance Theater can be said to have 
developed out of a series of composition classes 
given by Robert Ellis Dunn, so the U.S. component 
of Fluxus formed at classes John Cage gave at the 
New School in the late 1 950s.) Many Fluxus artists 
were "intermedia" artists (a term coined by Dick 
Higgins), combining music, writing, and graphic 
art with performance. Fluxus artworks favored 
readymades, chance operations, and multiples. 
There was also a heavy dose of what — for want of 
a better word — I would call "whimsy." Some examples of that "whimsy": 

Piano Piece for David Tudor #2 

Bring a bale of hay and a bucket of water onto the stage for a piano to eat 
and drink. The performer may then feed the piano or leave it to eat by itself. 
If the former, the piece is over after the piano has been fed. If the latter, it 
is over after the piano eats or decides not to. 

— La Monte Young. October 1 960 

Direction 

Arrange to observe a sign indicating direction of travel. 

• travel in the indicated direction 

• travel in another direction 



Sun Piece 

Watch the sun until it becomes square. 



— George Brecht 



— Yoko Ono, winter 1962 



There is a "what if?""why not?""what the hell?"quality to a lot of Fluxus 
art. which can be attributed to the artists questioning the limits of art. What's 
art? What isn't? Ono once said that everyone could be artists, and everything 
could be art. There were Fluxus publications. Fluxus concerts. Fluxus films. 
Fluxus readymades. Fluxus multiples. Fluxus prints and graphics. Although 
Fluxus was very loose and very eclectic, gradually a profile emerged. In 
1966. Macuinas drew a chart. "The Expanded Arts Diagram." (Macuinas 
was one of the first artists whose work consisted of lists, catalogues, and 
charts, a true postmodernist, although he'd probably hate that label.) On one 
end of the diagram were "Events/Neo-haiku Theater" (the Fluxus end) and 
the other "Happenings/Neo-Baroque Theater." In 1966, Ono described the 
distinction: 

Event, to me. is not an assimilation of ail the other arts as Happening seems to be. 
but an extrication from the various sensory perceptions. It is not "a get togetherness" 
as most happenings are. but a dealing with oneself. Also, it has no script as 
happenings do. though it has something that starts it moving — the closest word for 
it may be a "wish" or "hope." 1 ' 

Fluxus was a very loose amalgamation of artists, truly international and 
multicultural in its make-up. As an example: in 1963. Macuinas (a Li- 
thuanian immigrant then living in New York City) sent a memo to Fluxus 



22 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1989 



members or prospective members, i.e., artists whose works had been or 
might be distributed, exhibited, or performed in a Fluxus context. The list 
included George Brecht, Toshi Ichiyangi, Robert Filliou, Gyorgi Ligeti, 
Jackson MacLow, (Takehisa) Kosugi, Nordenstrom, Ono, Benjamin Pat- 
terson, Nam June Paik, Robert Watts, Emmett Williams, La Monte Young, 
Dick Higgins, Allan Kaprow, Alfred Hansen, Claes Oldenburg, Richard 
Maxfield, and Stan Vanderbeek. In 1 966, Macuinas called Fluxus a "collec- 
tive"; the aforementioned Fluxfilm was made, with short segments by 
Brecht, Macuinas, Eric Andersen, Cheiko Shiomi, Watts, Albert Fine, Paul 
Sharits, Ono, John Cale, and Joe Jones; Peter Moore was the cinematogra- 
pher for several of the films. It was in this context that Yoko Ono developed 
as an artist. In 1966, Ono went to London to participate in the Destruction 
in Art symposium. From that point, art history converges with the larger 
scope of cultural history. 

Prior to the establishment of Fluxus, Macuinas had been the owner of the 
AG Gallery, one of the first (along with the Reuben Gallery and the Martha 
Jackson Gallery) to present performance works (usually called Happen- 
ings). In the milieu of the New York art world of the early sixties, the artists 
who had met in John Cage's classes — Higgins, Al Hansen, MacLow, Philip 
Corner, Brecht — linked up with Macuinas, who was interested in an inter- 
national perspective. To this end, they set up Fluxus tours in Europe, and 
contact was established between artists in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. 
Among the European artists who were associated with Fluxus were Ben 
Vautier, Filliou, Milan Knizak, Daniel Spoerri, and Joseph Beuys. The 
Asian component of Fluxus included Paik, Shigeko Kubota, Kosugi, Shio- 
mi, Ay-O, Yoshimasa Wada, Yasunao Tone, the group Hi-Red Center, and, 
of course, Ono. 

Like any subject tinged with nostalgia, this description may seem more 
idealistic that it was. Then, again, maybe not. About this same cultural 
moment, Rainer reflected. 

As I look back, what stands out for me — along with the inevitable undercurrents of 
petty jealousies and competitiveness — is the spirit of that time: a dare-devil 
willingness to 'try anything,' the arrogance of our certainty that we were breaking 
new ground, the exhilaration produced by the response of the incredibly partisan 
audiences.... 14 

Perhaps appropriately, Ono has now recast her early Fluxus objects in 
bronze and justified this as an eighties response to a sixties aesthetic. 
There's some controversy about her revisionist strategy, but the films 
remain — without embellishments and without omissions — still challenging 
the predominant avant-garde aesthetic of the period and still providing an 
oddball feminist slant to some hoary aesthetic issues. One of my favorite 
pieces by Ono is Sky Machine ( 1 967, not included in the Whitney show). It's 
a very elegant gumball machine, with plastic capsules inside, the kind that 
usually contain small "prizes," but, here, with nothing inside. Nothing, that 
is, except air — or, in the terms of the piece, "a piece of the sky." This could 
be a Duchampian ploy: the consciousness of demarcating a piece of the sky 
renders that piece of the sky part of a work of art. This could be a cynical 
commercial ploy: the artist saying that anything can be sold as art, even air. 
I think both meanings are within the parameters of the work, accounting for 
its particular humor and power. Ono's achievements as an artist (and her 
films, as with the films of Warhol, represent her art at its most impressive) 
show ingenuity, extreme irony, integrity, subversive wit, and a double- 
edged intelligence. 

A section of my performance piece The Future of an lllusionism(\9S3) 
consists of a panel discussion on "alternative performance" since 1 960. The 
panelists were Simone Forti, Alison Knowles, Charlotte Moorman, Carolee 
Schneemann, and Elaine Summers. At one point, Schneemann said, "Younger 
artists, who are struggling to find space and funding, are also all into 
marketing strategies. Or many of them are. They talk to me about being too 
sloppy and idealistic and having leftover attitudes from the '60s, because I 
haven't gotten together my networking." 

In the February 7, 1989, issue of the Village Voice John Perreault quotes 
Ono's comment on her decision to show her art after more than a decade: 




The flies that appear in 
Fly (1970, in collabo- 
ration with John Len- 
non) move slowly 
across a woman's 
body, accompanied 
by Ono's vocal score. 
The flies had to be 
chloroformed to ensure 
a proper performance. 

Courtesy Lenono Photo Archive 



For me it's moving forward. It's dispensing with that dream that my generation is 
carrying. We still have that inside of us. We can never forget that dream of 
revolution. We have that taste. In the future there will be an even more complex 
society. The '60s was one of the stepping-stones. But we can't look back. 

Daryl Chin is a playwright, publisher, and producer living in New York 
City. 

© 1989 Daryl Chin 



NOTES 

1. Calvin Tomkins, The Scene: Reports on Post-Modern Art (New York: Viking 
Press, 1977), p. 207. 

2. Paul Sharits, "Words Per Page," Afterimage (London), No. 4 (1972), p. 31. 

3. Willoughby Sharp and Liza Bear, "The Performer as a Persona: An Interview with 
Yvonne Rainer," Avalanche, No. 5 (1972), p. 57. 

4. P. Adams Sitney, Visionary Film: The American Avant-Garde (New York: 
Oxford University Press, 1974), p. 409. 

5. Yoko Ono, Grapefruit (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1970), p. 309. 

6. Jonas Mekas, Movie Journal: The Rise of a New American Cinema, 1959-1971 
(New York: Macmillan. 1972), p. 412. 

7. Don McDonagh, The Complete Guide to Modern Dance (New York: Doubleday, 
1976), p. 447. 

8. Susan Sontag. Against Interpretation (New York: Farrar. Straus, Giroux, 1966), 
p. 264. 

9. David James, "Carolee Schneemann's Fuses (1964-67)," Cinematograph, No. 3 
(1988), p. 38. 

10. Don McDonagh, The Rise and Fall and Rise of Modern Dance (New York: 
Outerbridge and Dienstfrey, 1970), p. 190. 

1 1. Yvonne Rainer, Work 1961-73 (Halifax: Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 
1974), p. 7. 

12. Ono, op. cit., p. 305-306. 

13. Ibid., p. 273. 

14. Rainer, op. cit., p. 8. 

15. Daryl Chin, with Simone Forti, Alison Knowles. Charlotte Moorman. Carolee 
Schneemann. Elaine Summers, and Michael Kirby. "The Future of an Illusionism, 
Part Q," Heresies: A Feminist Publication on Art and Politics , No. 17 (1984), p. 62. 

16. John Perreault, "Age of Bronze: Yoko Ono at the Whitney." Village Voice (Feb. 
7, 1989), p. 30. 



APRIL 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 23 



FESTIVALS 

THEN AND NOW: 

THE SAN SEBASTIAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 




A retrospective of films by French 
director Jacques Tourneur made up 
one of the sidebars at this year's San 
Sebastian Film Festival. Tourneur is 
best known for his films from the for- 
ties, such as / Walked with a Zombie. 

Courtesy Museum of Modern Art Film Stills Archive 



Jonathan Rosenbaum 

Having attended the San Sebastian Film Festival 
on two separate occasions 16 years apart — in 
1972 and 1988 — I find it surprising how little the 
basic ambience of the event has changed. Apart 
from the fact the festival has grown, the major 
differences I noticed are those between Franco 
and post-Franco Spain. One no longer buys a copy 
ofihelnternationalHeraldTribuneontheAvenida. 
de la Libertad only to find that a state censor has 
neatly clipped out an article or two from every 
copy. Even more noticeable, to the eyes as well as 
ears, is Basque, a language that was rigorously 
outlawed under Franco. One now sees it on street 
signs and hears it on TV. One of the many sidebars 
at the 36th International Film Festival at San 
Sebastian was even devoted to Basque films. 

Sidebars, in fact, have for a long time been the 
festival's strength. In 1972, there was a Howard 
Hawks retrospective, with Hawks himself attend- 
ing as a jury member for the films in competition. 
Back then, the festival was held in July, and was 
still small enough to offer excursions for all the 
guests: a bus ride to Pamplona to attend the 
bullfight encouraged Hawks to divulge some of 
his favorite Hemingway stories. 



In contrast, the main selections at San Sebas- 
tian tend to be relatively mainstream and unex- 
ceptional. A few titles that I recall from 1972 are 
Sam Peckinpah's Junior Bonner, Carol Reed's 
Follow Me (his last film), Alastair Reid's Some- 
thing to Hide, Tom Gries' The Glass House, 
Jacques Doniol-Valcroze's L'homme au cerxeau 
griffe, and Peter Bogdanovich's What ' s Up, Doc? 
These selections were shown at the Victoria Eugen- 
ia, a large opera house that continues to show the 
films in competition and also houses the festival 's 
offices, press room, video screening facilities (for 
the market), and a large cafe-restaurant. The Vic- 
toria Eugenia is located directly across from the 
Maria Cristina, the hotel which puts up the festi- 
val's VIPs and houses the press conferences ( which 
are televised daily). Visitors who want to stick 
close to the main events tend to mill about the 
same large block and around the same plaza. 

Some visitors, like myself, find reasons to stay 
away from the main events. To attend one of the 
evening galas usually means a bit more than just 
dressing up. It entails walking up a grand stairway 
under a line of crossed swords held by uniformed 
soldiers. If one decides to leave a film before it's 
over, there's no easy way of doing so unobtrusive- 
ly. As I recall from 1972, the side exits tend to be 
locked, and one has to leave down the same grand 



stairway, flanked by the same soldiers and other 
evidences of festive pomp. Once outside, it is not 
unusual to be approached by children and asked 
for an autograph, regardless of who one is. Be- 
cause of my memories of all this, as well as a 
strong interest in the sidebars, I stayed away from 
all of the galas in 1988. Various friends and col- 
leagues, however, testified that this aspect of the 
festival remains largely the same. The festival has 
a substantial annual budget, and putting on a dis- 
play for tourists is part of what the event is all 
about. 

All three of the major sidebars in 1988 were 
exciting: a Jacques Tourneur retrospective (ac- 
companied by the publication of a 250-page, 
large-format book on the director), a broad and 
multifaceted retrospective devoted to "The ABC 
of Latin American Cinema," and a novel series 
called "You Only Live Once," devoted to film- 
makers who had made only one film — a varied, 
eclectic group that included, among many others, 
Marlon Brando (One-Eyed Jacks), Albert Finney 
(Charlie Bubbles), Jean Genet (Chant d' amour), 
Charles Laughton (The Night of the Hunter), 
Leonard Kastle (The Honeymoon Killers), Andre 
Malraux (L'espoir), Karl Maiden (Time Limit), 
Lorenzo Llober (Vida en sombras), and Peter 
Lorre (Der Verlorene). 

Jacques Tourneur, mainly known for his re- 
markable films made for producer Val Lewton in 
the forties (Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie, 
and Leopard Man) and his classic film noir Out of 
the Past (1947), was previously honored with a 
retrospective at the Edinburgh Film Festival in the 
1 970s and has long been a cult figure in France. In 
the U.S.. though, he remains a neglected and bare- 
ly known figure. The son of the very cultivated 
(and equally neglected) director Maurice Tourneur, 
who began and ended his career in France (1912- 
1 9 1 4 and 1 928- 1 948, respectively), but worked as 



24 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1989 




From Leopard Man, by 
Jacques Tourneur. While 
Tourneur has a cult 
following in France, he 
remains largely unknown 
in the United States. 

Courtesy Museum of Modern Art 
Film Still Archives 



Now Available! I 

The AIVF Gui 
to Internatio] 
Film and Vid 
Festivals 

A unique, comj^reheri 
fully indexed gui^ratQ. 
over 35CHest1vals wort* 



a major Hollywood director for most of the teens 
and twenties, Jacques also worked on both sides 
of the Atlantic. (His first half-dozen films were 
made in France during the thirties.) Unlike his 
father, however, he did virtually all of his major 
work outside of France. 

Known as the director who almost never turned 
down an assignment, Tourneur left behind a vari- 
able and uneven body of work, a surprising amount 
of which remains distinctive as well as personal. 
Ironically, for a filmmaker who habitually insist- 
ed on using on-screen lighting sources, he is de- 
servedly known as a master of off-screen space. 
This trait comes to the fore in his Lewton films and 
the remarkable English horror film Curse of the 
Demon/Night of the Demon (1957), where the 
unseen becomes the "open, sesame" of the spec- 
tator's imagination, but it is equally pertinent in 
much of his other work. 

His own personal favorite among his movies — 
a nostalgic small-town idyll with Joel McCrea, 
Ellen Drew, and Dean Stockwell called Stars in 
My Crown — was improbably made at MGM in 
1950. A film that bids comparison with John 
Ford's The Sun Shines Bright, Stars in My Crown 
focuses on a local parson (McCrea) and his fam- 
ily, but has none of the religious piety that one 
associates with Louis B. Mayer's MGM. Tourneur 
rightly prided himself on his progressive treat- 
ment of Blacks in his films. One episode in the 
film that deals with the refusal of a poor local 
Black man (Juano Hernandez) to sell his property 
to well-to-do whites is especially striking for the 
wit and economy of its acting, scripting, lighting, 
and mise-en-scene. 

Some of Tourneur's most interesting and visu- 
ally striking pictures were adventure films in 
color: The Flame and the Arrow(\950), Anne of 
the Indie s( 1 95 1 ), and Way of a Gaucho( 1 952) are 
three strong examples. The even more conven- 
tional and formulaic Appointment in Honduras 
(1953) is striking in the particularly Tourneur- 
esque way it is set mainly in exteriors while con- 
veying the cozy atmosphere that one usually asso- 
ciates with interiors. Westerns such as Canyon 
Passage(\946) and Witchita(\955) are equally 
deserving of rediscovery. While Tourneur seldom 
seemed to have much of a hand in the scripts he di- 
rected, his best work conveys a finely tuned sense 



of ethics and a sensitive feeling for human inter- 
actions — both hallmarks of his direction. While 
the San Sebastian retrospective wasn't quite ex- 
haustive, it did manage to include a few of Tour- 
neur's TV films. A 30-minute show for General 
Electric Theater in 1960 entitled The Martyr, for 
example, offers a directorial feat of the first order: 
coaxing an unusually sensitive and subtle per- 
formance out of Ronald Reagan. 

Of particular interest in the "ABC of Latin 
American Cinema" program were various films 
with considerable reputations but hardly known at 
all in the U.S. The best of these that I saw was a 
wonderful early black and white Cine Novo film 
by Ruy Guerra, Os cafajestes(\962), an erotic tale 
about two petty blackmailers packed with filmic 
invention and energy. Very close in look and spirit 
to the early films of the French New Wave which 
were being made around the same time, the film 
was popular in Paris when released. It seems like 
a historical accident that it never surfaced com- 
mercially in the U.S. 

Others in the series that I saw or sampled in- 
cluded Raul Ruiz's first completed feature in 
Chile, Tres tristes tigres(\96%), which intermit- 
tently demonstrates that his interest in "illogical" 
camera angles was there in his work from the be- 
ginning; an enjoyably lurid camp Mexican musi- 
cal/melodrama, Alberto Gout's A venturera ( 1 949), 
starring the flamboyant Ninon Sevilla; and a re- 
volting Argentinian exploitation cult item, Ar- 
mando Bo's Came, which principally consists of 
the buxom heroine being repeatedly raped. 

All of the sidebar events were held in a cozy 
multiplex cinema in the old section of town, an 
area surrounded by relatively cheap restaurants 
and frequented mainly by students. Shortly before 
the end of the festival, after a Basque terrorist was 
killed in a skirmish with the local police, a burning 
bus was ignited in protest, blocking one of the 
nearby streets. A couple of miles away and a few 
hours later, at the festival's swank closing night 
party held at the Palacio de Miramar, San Sebas- 
tian glittered with a very different kind of light, 
sound, and fury. 

Jonathan Rosenbaum is the film critic for the 
Chicago Reader. His books include Moving Places 
and Film: The Front Line 1983. 



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APRIL 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 25 



FILMS ON FAUNA: 

THE INTERNATIONAL WILDLIFE FILM FESTIVAL 




The call of the wild is 
heard in Ellesemere 
Land, from the series The 
Nature of Things, pro- 
duced by the Canadian 
Broadcasting Corpora- 
tion. The film was shown 
at the International 
Wildlife Film Festival. 

Courtesy filmmakers 



Emelia Seubert 



Each April the University of Montana in Missoula 
is host to the International Wildlife Film Festival. 
The setting is appropriate, with five mountain 
ranges, home to grizzlies, elk. and eagles, all with- 
in view of the campus. In this pan of the country, 
wildlife and land use are deeply felt and often 
divisive issues, covered almost daily in local 
media. The annual arrival of film- and video- 
makers w ho care about these same issues gives 
Missoulans an opportunity to reflect on their con- 
cerns and to celebrate the animal kingdom. 

The festival attracts films and videotapes— 
and often the makers of the works — from all over 
the world. Now in its twelfth year, the festival is 
the brainchild of Charles Jonkel. a bear biologist 
at the university. His original goals in creating the 
festival were to encourage better cinematography 
and more accurate biological content in films 
about wildlife through public screenings, awards, 
and workshops. As the festival has grown it has 
added symposia and special events which bring 
together filmmakers, w riters. photographers, bio- 
logists, conservationists, students, educators, and 
representatives of government from the U.S. and 
abroad. This produces a stimulating and some- 
times heated atmosphere of exchange, where new- 



creative linkages are formed 
and innovative ideas are 
bom. Especially exciting is 
the festival's role in facili- 
tating Native American and 
Native Canadian access to 
media technology. 

Many workshops and 
presentations at the festival 
address the usual subjects of 
concern to filmmakers — 
marketing, distribution, etc. 
Specialized topics such as 
night filming and how to approach animals in the 
w ild are also discussed. Others, however, depart 
from the mechanics of filmmaking to reflect Jon- 
kel's understanding of media's intersection with 
society — as propaganda, as consciousness raiser, 
and. significantly, its promise as facilitator be- 
tween groups with conflicting interests. In his 
view, film and video have a vital role to play in 
influencing policy-makers and the public about 
complex wildlife issues. 

The screenings, held over seven days, range 
from widely seen, well-funded works produced 
by the likes of the British Broadcasting Corpora- 
tion and National Geographic to productions by 
small independent companies, many based in the 
West, and student and amateur productions. 
However, as the crisis in wildlife and the environ- 
ment has deepened, the festival's focus has shifted 
away from films targeted for affluent, English- 
speaking audiences of North America, northern 
Europe. New Zealand, and Australia, to a greater 
concern with indigenous and Third World peoples 
whose v. ay of life is closely associated with ani- 
mals and their habitats. 

Jonkel is disturbed by the lack of media, and 
thus information, reaching mass audiences in 
lesser-developed nations. Equally disturbing is 
lack of access to media technology on the part of 
local cultures, which would assist them in com- 



municating their values and views about the land 
and its animals. The past two festivals have been 
host to Native Canadian/Native American media 
symposia looking at possibilities for media uses 
by Native communities. Some workshops and 
seminars specifically encourage low-cost media 
technology as a viable option for indigenous 
peoples. Assailed by threats against their land and 
traditional hunting and fishing rights, film and 
video can assist Native people in their struggles. 
Among the communities that have taken up 
cameras are the Tlingit (Haa Shagoon), the 
Kwakiutl (Box ofTreasures). and the Sioux (Our 
Sacred Land). 

Salish Kootenai College, on the Flathead In- 
dian Reservation only 50 miles from Missoula, 
has recently embraced the idea of a marriage of 
media and wildlife interests on the reservation. 
The tribe is actively conservationist, having taken 
the unusual step of setting aside a portion of 
reservation lands as a tribal wilderness area. For 
the past two years, the college has participated in 
the festival, and in 1988 hosted Native Canadian/ 
Native American wildlife screenings. Salish Koo- 
tenai has been using media since it initiated a 
project in 1983 that documented traditional arts 
and made language and informational tapes for 
the tribe's use. The college now operates a low- 
power public television station which broadcasts 
PBS programming and six to eight hours of local 
programming every week. 

Jonkel is also head of the Rocky Mountain Film 
Institute (a project of the nonprofit organization 
Institute of the Rockies) and is working with 
media center head Frank Tyro to create a Native 
American wildlife film school at the college. This 
program could provide a model for other Native 
American educational institutions to provide much 
needed media training to tribe members, at the 
same time encouraging young Indians to use their 
media skills in conjunction with wildlife and 
environmental issues. If Salish Kootenai's plans 
go through — it seems likely they will — the festi- 
val can take pride in its role as a catalyst for the 
new program. 

The scale of the problems the International 
Wildlife Film Festival addresses are immense, 
which will not be resolved simply by airing the 
issues. But in doing so. the festival fosters a 
greater awareness of media's role and offers a 
vision of new directions producers might take to 
benefit both human communities and the Earth's 
remaining wildlife. 

Emelia Seubert is assistant curator at the Film 
and \ ideo Center at the Museum of the American 
Indian in New York City. 



26 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1989 



IN BRIEF 



This month's festivals have been 
compiled by Kathryn Bowser, direc- 
tor of the FIVF Festival Bureau. Listings 
do not constitute an endorsement & 
since some details change faster than 
we do, we recommend that you 
contact the festival for further infor- 
mation before sending prints or tapes. 
If your experience differs from our 
account, please let us know so we 
can improve our reliability. 



Domestic 

Dore Schary Awards. October, NY. 6th annual com- 
petition for undergrad & grad students majoring in 
filmmaking & TV who have completed film/video 
production on subject of human relations after Jan. 1 , 
1988. Entries must incl. supporting letter from faculty 
sponsor. Awards (both film & video): $ 1 000 ( 1 st); $500 
(2nd); presented in Oct. ceremony in LA w/ travel & 
accommodations provided for 1st prize winners. Cats: 
narrative, animation, live action, documentary, experi- 
mental. Format: 16mm, 3/4". Deadline: June 15. Con- 
tact: Zirel Handler, Dore Schary Awards, Anti-Defa- 
mation League of B'nai B'rith, 823 United Nations 
Plaza, New York, NY 10017; (212) 490-2525. 

Jewish Film Festival: Independent Filmmakers Look- 



ing at Ourselves. July, CA. Jewish themes articulated 
by independent filmmakers spotlighted in int'l show- 
case, now in 9th yr. Dramatic, documentary, experi- 
mental, animated shorts & features accepted. Program 
held at various sites in SF & Berkeley. Fest also pub- 
lished catalog of modern Jewish cinema w/ over 100 
new films. No entry fee. Format: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/ 
2". Deadline: Apr. 15. Contact: Deborah Kaufman/ 
Janis Plotkin, Jewish Film Festival 2600 Tenth St., 
#102, Berkeley, CA 94710; (415) 548-0556. 

New Jersey Video and Film Festival. June 23, NJ. 
Celebrates achievements of NJ independent video & 
film producers, as well as works about NJ. Entries must 
have been completed between 1984 & 1989 & either 
produced by individual or group living or working in 
NJ, about NJ, or shot substantially in NJ. Fest now in 6th 
yr. Awards incl. cash, merchandise, or production serv- 
ices. Program to be held at Newark Symphony Hall & 
winning productions tour during fall & winter at vari- 
ous media, cultural & educ. centers throughout NJ & tri- 
state area as part of Festival Showcase Tour. Entry fee: 
$25. Formats: 16mm, 3/4". Deadline: May 1 (post- 
mark). Contact: Newark MediaWorks, Box 1716, Dept. 
F5, Newark, NJ 07101; (201) 690-5474. 

Nissan Focus Awards, September, NY/CA. Now in 
1 3th yr as largest national student filmmaking & screen- 
writing competition, competition exposes films & scripts 
of aspiring filmmakers & screenwriters to leading 
producers, directors, actors & agents. Feature-length 
screenplays & 16mm films produced noncommercial^ 
in conjunction w/ US educational institutions eligible. 
Over $100,000 in cash, cars & prizes awarded in 7 cats 
(narrative/live action; screenwriting; animated/experi- 



mental; sound achievement; film editing; documentary 
film; excellence in cinematography) & winners flown 
to LA for informal seminars & award ceremony. Nissan 
& Kodak principal sponsors, along w/ cosponsors Am- 
blin Entertainment, Badham's Great American Picture 
Show, Universal Pictures, Dolby Laboratories, Be- 
nihana of Tokyo. Deadline: Apr. 28 (postmark). Con- 
tact: Sam Katz, FOCUS (Films of College & University 
Students), 10 E. 34th St., 6th fl.. New York, NY 10016; 
(212) 779-0404; fax: (212) 779-1985. 

Visions of U.S., August, CA. 5th annual competition 
for video productions that express "vision of the world." 
Sponsored by Sony & administered by American Film 
Institute, competition accepts submissions in 4 cats: 
fiction, nonfiction, experimental & music video. 1 
grand prize awarded, as well as a special Young Peoples 
Merit Award for entrants under 17 yrs. Judges incl. 
Laurie Anderson, Francis Coppola, Levar Burton, 
Quincy Jones, Shelley Duvall, Billy Crystal, Jeff Gra- 
ham & Tina Yothers. Equipment prizes. Entries must be 
under 30 min. Format: Beta, VHS, 8mm video; submit 
on 1/2" or 8mm video. Deadline: May 1. Contact: Vi- 
sions of U.S., Box 200, Hollywood, CA 90078; (213) 
856-7622. 

Wine Country Film Festival. July 14-23, CA. Dedi- 
cated to independent films, fest showcases new films: 
ind. features, shorts, animation, docs, student feature 
films, works by new filmmakers & int'l work. Special 
sections: Films from Commitment, The Arts in Film & 
Planetary Series (conservation & environment). Pro- 
gram incl. tributes, special receptions, parties & wine 
tastings & special award given to "film company of the 
year." Formats: 35mm, 16mm; limited video screen- 



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Barcelona International Film Festival, July 4-12, 
Spain. Oldest fest in Spain, reorganized in 1987 w/ 
plans to become major European cultural force. Venue 
moved to heart of city & most prestigious blvd closed 
to traffic w/in 5 block area & several hotels taken over 
by fest. Large no. of filmmakers, writers & artists 
attended. Sections incl. competition, specially invited 
films, contemporary world cinema & homages. Top 
cash prize of $250.000 given to winning film in compe- 
tition, but only Euro, films eligible. Short film compe- 
tition accepts int'l entries. Spanish subtitling necessary. 
Formats: 35mm. 16mm. Deadline: May 15. Contact: 
Barcelona International Film Festival, Passeig de Gracia 
47. 3er. 2a.. 08007 Barcelona. Spain: tel: (93) 2152424; 
telex: 99373 FESTB-E. 

Edinburgh International Film Festival, Aug. 12- 
27. Scotland. Noncompetitive innovative fest has pre- 
sented short & feature length narrative & doc films for 
43 yrs & always on lookout for "unusual & idiosyn- 
cratic" works, which incl. several US ind. films. Last yr 
over 200 films programmed. Entries must be cassette. 
Deadline: May 12. This yr fest has new codirectors: 
David Robinson. London Times film critic, and Polish 
filmmaker Krzysztof Zanussi. While fest now run sepa- 
rate from cinema center Filmhouse. write there for info: 
Edinburgh International Film Festival, Filmhouse. 88 
Lothian Rd.. Edinburgh EH3 9BZ. Scotland; tel: (03 1 ) 
228-6382; telex: 72165. 

Gijon International Film Festival for Young 
People. July, Spain. Annual FIAPF-recognized com- 
petitive fest for films aimed at children & youth, which 
has expressed particular interest in entries produced by 
US ind. producers. Official section films accepted in & 
out of competition. Info section incl. 3 cats: Ourlines. 
Cycles, Retrospectives. Features (over 60 min.) & 
shorts accepted. Films in official section must not be 
awarded in other int'l fests. Awards: Principado de 
Asturias top prize to best feature & short; prizes also to 
best director, actress/actor; special jury prize. Jury of 
200 young people (13-18) awards Youth Jury Prize to 
best short & feature. Format: 35mm; preview on cas- 
sette. Deadline: May 12. Contact: Roberto M. Bercia- 
no. Festival Internacional de Cine de Gijon. c/o General 
Vigon. 4. Apdo. Correos 76. 33206 Gijon, Spain; tel: 
(985) 341167/343739: telex: 87443 Ficg-e. 

In Visible Colours An International Women of 
Colour & Third World Women Film/Video Festi- 
val & Symposium Nov. 15-19. Canada. Recent films & 
videos directed, written, or produced by women of 
color & 3rd World women invited to participate in 1st 
major Canadian tribute of its kind. Fest plans to "show- 
case the vital & exciting work by women of diverse 
cultures & perspectives" along w/ accompanying fo- 
rums & workshops covering prod., distrib.. economic 
& aesthetic issues. Doc. narrative, experimental, ani- 
mated works of all lengths accepted: artists fees paid. 
Cosponsored by Women in Focus & National Film 
Board of Canada. No entry fee. Deadline: May 30. 
Contact: Lorraine Chan/Zainub Verjee. festival coordi- 
nators, c/o National Film Board of Canada. 300-1045 
Howe St., Vancouver. BC. Canada V6Z 2B1; (604) 
666-3838; fax: (604) 666-1569. 



Jerusalem Film Festival. June 29-July 8, Israel. 6th 
annual noncompetitive fest for recent features, docs, 
shorts, animation, video art. restored classics, films of 
Jewish interest, 3rd world themes. Program also incl. 
retrospectives & tributes. Held at Jerusalem Film Centre. 
Last yr over 130 films scheduled, w/ 30 docs. Deadline: 
May 1. Contact: Debora Siegel. festival coordinator. 
Jerusalem Film Festival, Hebron Rd., Box 8561 . Jerusa- 
lem 91083, Israel; tel: 972-2-724131; fax: 972-2- 
723076; telex: 26358 CANJR IL. 

La Rochelle International Film Festival. June 28- 
July 8, France. Noncompetitive art film fest, now in 
17th yr. has 3 main sections: retrospectives devoted to 
work of past filmmakers, tributes to contemporary 
directors ( w/ directors attending) & The World As It Is, 
containing int'l selection of current unreleased films. 
Over 100 films programmed. Contact: Jean-Loup Pas- 
sek, 7. rue Gozlin, 75006 Paris. France; tel: (1) 46337948. 

Locarno International Film Festival. Aug. 3-13, 
Switzerland. Now in 42nd yr. this all-features fest 
considers itself "smallest of the big festivals & the 
biggest of the small," w/ solid reputation for innovation 
& excellence as one of Switzerland's most important 
cultural events. Competition accepts 1st & 2nd fiction 
features by new directors & especially seeks new direc- 
tors, low budget films, indies & cinema d'auteur. Open 
to films over 60 min. (no educ. scientific or ad films) 
completed in previous 12 mos. Films must be Swiss 
premieres & not prize winners at other int'l fests recog- 
nized by FIAPF. Preference given to world premieres & 
films not yet submitted to other major Euro int'l festi- 
vals. Prizes incl. Golden Leopard (grand prize) & City 
of Locarno Grand Prize (10.000 SF) to best film. Silver 
Leopard ( 2nd prize). Awards Committee Grand Prize & 
City of Locarno 2nd Prize (5.000 SF) to 2nd best film; 
Bronze Leopards & cash prizes to 3rd & 4th place 
winners: honorable mention & technical prizes: prize 
also goes to local distrib. willing to handle 1 of fest films 
on Swiss market. Many films receive int'l premiere 
here. Accepted works should be French-subtitled. Fest 
program also incl. out-of-competition screenings in 
open air Piazza Grande (6000 seats) as well as retro- 
spection & info sections & market. Last yr over 150 
films programmed, along w/ over 40 represented in the 
market, which attracted most Swiss distributors & 80% 
of exhibitors. In addition to large local audiences, 
several hundred int'l journalists attend along w/ over 
1500 guests. Format: 35mm. 16mm. 

Fest director David Streiff will work w/ FIVF's 
Festival Bureau this yr to make selections. Cassettes (3/ 
4" & 1/2" only) will be collected at FIVF office, sent to 
Sw itzerland in group shipment & returned to NYC after 
screening. Handling fee: S15. For information & appl.. 
contact Kathryn Bowser. FIVF. 625 Broadway. 9th Fl.. 
New York, NY 10012; (212)473-3400. Deadline: May 
12. In Switzerland: Festival deadline: May 31. Festival 
address: Festival Internazionale del Film Locarno. Via 
della Posta 6, CH-6600 Locarno. Switzerland; tel: 093- 
310232; fax: 093-317465: telex: 846565 FIFL. 

Munich International Film Festival. June 24-Jul> 
2. W. Germany. Firmly established as German venue 
for US ind. films, noncompetitive fest. now 7 yrs old. 
has reputation for large (over 100.000) enthusiastic 
audiences & exciting programming. More than 500 
films premiered here. Nearly 100 films shown in int'l 
section, perspectives (1st & 2nd work of young direc- 
tors), ind. film section, special screenings as well as 
children's section, short films & docs. Concurrent Film 
Exchange program organized to provide advice & info 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1989 



to buyers & sellers, w/ film & video projection facilities 
offered free, along w/ seminars. Formats: 35mm, 1 6mm. 
Contact: Ursula Rapp, Internationale Miinchner Film- 
wochen GMBH/Filmfest Munchen, Turkenstrasse 93, 
8000 Munich 40, W. Germany; (089) 39301 1/12; telex: 
5214674 IMF D. 

Odense International Film Festival, July 30-Aug. 5, 
Denmark. Deadline: May 15. 8th biennial competitive 
showcase, programs fairy tales & experimental/imagi- 
native films (fest originally called Fairy Tale Film 
Festival & dedicated to memory & spirit of Odense- 
born Hans Christian Andersen) for children & adults. 
Live action or animated films up to 60 min. accepted. 
Last edition featured 50 films from 20 countries. Int'l 
jury awards 8 prizes: 1 st prize (statuette & Dkr. 35,000); 
2nd (statuette & Dkr. 15,000); 3rd (statuette & Dkr. 
15,000); 4th-8th (statuettes). Children & Youth Jury 
Prizes: 1st (statuette & Dkr. 2,000); 2nd & 3rd (Dkr. 
1 ,000). Participating films may be shown on Danish TV 
w/ normal fees paid. Program also incl. retros & Chil- 
dren's Film Workshop where Odense children instructed 
in animation techniques by foreign filmmakers. For- 
mats: 35mm, 16mm; preview on 3/4", 1/2" (PAL). 
Deadline: May 15. Contact: Claus Damgaard/Helle 
Nielsen, Odense International Film Festival, Vinde- 
gade 1 8, DK-5000 Odense C, Denmark; tel: (9) 1 3 1 372, 
ext. 4294; fax: (9) 914318. 

Venice International Film Festival, Sept. 4-15, 
Italy. Venice now in 46th yr, fest is world's oldest & one 
of Europe's 3 most important, distinguished from oth- 
ers by lack of market. Sections: Venezia XLVI (main 
competition: about 20 feature films); noncompetitive 
sections Eventi Speciali (special event screenings); 
Settimana Intemazionale delta Critica (critics week for 
1st & 2nd works); Venezia Notte (ex-Venice midnight 
screenings for films "of an intelligently spectacular 
nature"); Venezia Orizzonti (Venice Horizons: info 
section for films highlighting tendencies, currents & 
aspects of recent cinema); Venezia RiSguardi (retro- 
spective) possibly Venezia TV. Films cannot have been 
publicly screened in Italy, released outside country of 
origin or shown in competition at other int'ly recog- 
nized exhibits. Entries must be subtitled in Italian. 
Competition awards: Golden Lion to best film; Grand 
Special Award; Silver Lion to best director; Volpi Cup 
to best actor/actress; 3 Oselle for outstanding prof, 
contributions. Deadline: June 30. Contact: Biennale di 
Venezia, Settore Cinema e Spettacolo Televisivo, San 
Marco, Ca'Giustinian 30124, Venice, Italy; tel: (041) 
70031 1; telex: 410685 BLE-VE-I. 

Wellington Film Festival, July, New Zealand. 18th 
edition of noncompetitive invitational fest for films that 
would otherwise not have ops to be seen in New 
Zealand. Generally programs work which has been 
shown at other recognized fests & is NZ premiere. 
Features & shorts accepted. All films receive certificate 
of participation. Fest works in tandem w/ Auckland 
Int'l Film Fest. Will make effort on request to act as 
liaison w/ prospective buyers; local distributors & buyers 
see both fests as major annual force in NZ film scene. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm. Deadline: Apr. 30. Contact: 
Bill Gosden, director, Wellington Film Festival, Box 
9544, Courtenay PI., Wellington, New Zealand; tel: 
850-162; telex: NZ 30386 Filmcom. 



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The Independent's Classifieds col- 
umn includes all listings for "Buy • 
Rent • Sell," "Freelancers" & "Post- 
production" categories. It is restricted 
to memPers only. Each entry has a 
250 character limit & costs $20 per 
issue. Ads exceeding this length will 
Pe edited. Payment must Pe made 
at the time of suPmission. Anyone 
wishing to run a classified ad more 
than once must pay for each inser- 
tion & indicate the numPer of inser- 
tions on the suPmitted copy. Each 
classified ad must Pe typed, 
douPle-spaced & worded exactly 
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motors, Cine 60 batt., Ang. 12-120, Ang. 5.9. Schn. 10, 
25. 50, Tiffen, case. Zeiss Moviscope. Ediquip amp. 
Moviola, sync block & rewinds. Bolex spier, Eiki proj. 
w/ rec. $4,100, pkg or sep. Jerry (203) 359-8992. 

Sale* Ikegami HL95B camera w/ Fujinon 14 x 9mm 
zoom lens w/ 2x extender & macro capabilities. CA95C 
adapter for stand-alone capability. All NTSC formats. 
Exc. cond., scrupulously maintained. Great price! Avail. 
3/1/89. (212) 627-9120 for details. 

For Rent in your space: Complete Sony 5850, 5800, 
RM440 off-line. Anvil cases fold out to form conven- 
ient table, cutting space. Reasonable rate. For Sale: 8- 
plate Steenbeck. 1000' rewind, reinforced handles. VG 
cond. Must sell. S10.500/b.o. (914) 478-0518. 

Paint & Animation Package: Lumena 16 paint box. 
titler, animator, video tools, tips, artwork, etc. (worth 
over S50.000) will let go for S 1 5.000 or b.o. Can divide. 
Also BCD. Targa. VVP. Call Ed (212) 228-4024. 

Bolex Animation JK motor. 16mm rflx.JK controller. Betacam S350/day w/ tripod, lights, radio mics. and 



frxbr. frwd, rev, com, programmer, all $1500. (212) 
228-4024. 

Angenielx 12/120 zoom. C-mount. Make an offer. 
(212) 228-4024. 

Bolex Rex 4; Som Berthiot 25-10-75mm lens; leather 
case; MST motor w/ sync pulse batt/charger (needs new 
cells for S99) all sealed/stored 9 yrs.; Rexofader; ext. 
tubes: trigger handle: cable release. B.o. over $1300. 
Fritz Zenk. 1627 Ohio Ave.. Sheboygan, WI 53081. 

For Sale: Aaton 7LTR pkg (TTL meter. 2 mags, 2 ban., 

2 chargers, Nikkor adapt., case) slightly used: $14,500 
Sony TCD5 Recorder (XLR inputs), w/ crystal: $500 
Neumann KMR 81i mike (short shotgun): $500; 
fishpole: $85. (212) 580-6267 or 505-0650. 

Super 8 Film Equip: Nizo 6080 w/ Schneider 1 .4 7- 
80mm zoom lens, wide angle & close up lenses, filters. 
Wurker slicer, Hahnel viewer, 200' mags of K40 refrig- 
erated. Exc. cond. No offers over $ 1 ,500 for pkg consid- 
ered. (717) 435-0592 aft. 10 pm EST. 

For Sale: NagTa IV 2L tape recorder with accessories, 
and Schoepp's CMT-44a microphone, lightly used and 
excellent condition. $4300. Editing bench, rewinds, 
squawkbox and synchronizers, b.o. (212) 866-7625. 

For Sale: Moviola M-77 6-plate flatbed editor; indi- 
vidual torque motor controls; table extension w/ rewind 
plate; 24 & 30 fps. Good condition. $5,200. Sinnott & 
Associates (312) 440-1875. 

For Sale/Rent: Sony 3/4" video edit systems: $2200 & 
$6200 respectively. Rent: As low as $ 1 0/hr or trade for 
free pan-time place to stay or camera use. Gary (212) 
768-1600. 

Freelancers 

Network Credited director, videographer w/ Sony 
broadcast 3/4", 3/4" SP & Beta pkgs from S300/day. 
Rental or experienced crews avail. Also complete pro- 
duction services incl. producing, directing & VO cast- 
ing. Michael, MI-RO Productions, (212) 757-7654. 

Prod. Contacts: Monthly newsletter listing SAG & 
nonunion films in pre-prod. in US. Lists producers 
seeking talent & services for upcoming films. $39.95/ 
yr. Sample: $5. National Film Sources, 10 E. 39 St.. 
#1017,NYC 10016: (800) 222-3844, credit card orders. 

3/4" Video Production: 3-tube Sony cameras, tripods, 
lights, audio, van. experienced cameraman. Very rea- 
sonable rates. Smart Video (212) 877-5545. 

Sony M3A, VO 6800, tripod, mics, lites, monitor, 
operator, transportation in Houston area. Economical. 
Joe (713) 981-9803. 

Award Winning Videographer w/ Sony DXC 3000. 

3 chip camera. Sennheiser sound, complete broadcast 
package. Experienced w/ news gathering, documenta- 
ries, dance, industrials & editing. Call John for rates: 
Ego Video (212) 475-6550. 

3/4" & S-VHS well maintained equipment w/ operator. 
Low per diem rates. Cal Kingsley Allison (212) 519- 
6304. 



30 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1989 



technician. 3/4" editing w/ editor $25/hr. Incl. Digital 
FX, Amiga 2000 char, gen., live camera, TC reader. S- 
VHS Camcorder shoot w/ cameraman $190/day. Elec- 
tronic Visions (212) 691-0375 

Betacam SP w/ complete remote package (including 
Vinten tripod, radio/shot mics, award-winning camera- 
man, transportation) available for your independent 
production. Call Hal at (201) 662-7526. 

Film Editor: Documentary or dramatic film. Reel, 3/4" 
or VHS upon request. Call Jack Walz (609) 893-7817 
or write Box 796, Browns Mills, NJ 08015-0796. 

Director of Photography available for dramatic films, 
16 or 35mm productions of any length. Call to see my 
reel. John (201) 783-7360. 

3/4" & Betacam prod, pkgs avail. Ikegami cameras, 
Sony decks, full sound & light gear. Best ENG crew in 
the city. Multi camera shoots. We've done it all, often 
& with the best. RAI (Italy), La Cinque (Paris), WTN 
(NYC), CBS (NYC). David Wallace (212) 594-7530. 

Sound Recordist/Sound Editor: Complete Nagra 
package w/ mikes. Own Steenbeck editing room for 
sound cutting jobs. Lots of experience in doc & narra- 
tive. Good rates. Cathy Calderon (212) 580-2075. 

Whatever Youre Looking For, I can find. Call or 
write for brochure. Design Research, Dept. B, Box 
1503, Bandor ME, 04401; (207) 941-0838. 

Cinematographer & sound person to work on inde- 
pendent films. (718) 729-7481. Alina/Vincent. Long 
Live Independence! 

Cinematographer w/ features, documentary & com- 
mercial credits avail, for film or video projects of any 
length. Personable w/ strong visual sense & excellent 
lighting. Own equipment, at a reasonable rate you can 
afford. Call for demo: Eric (718) 699-3485. 

Editor/Sound Editor w/ features & documentary 
experience avail, for your independent projects. Owns 
digital sound equipment & great sound FX library. 
Clean, fast & organized. Credits include award-win- 
ning films. Flexible rates. Call (718) 699-3485. 

Need Help with Your Projects? I have the experience 
& equipment (camera, recording & editing) for your 
next film or video production at a rate you can afford. 
Give me a call for your problems & I'll get the job done. 
Call (718) 699-4385. 

Cameraman with Betacam location package & exten- 
sive experience! Available for documentaries & other 
projects. Call Chris (212) 505-0369. 

Award Winning DP with Arri SR, Sony CCD Betacam 
and no attitude. Experienced in documentaries, fea- 
tures, commercials and industrials. Looking to shoot 
interesting projects. Flexible rates. Contact Doron (212) 
620-9157 or 620-4320. 

Production Stills: top of the line 35mm production 
stills taken directly from 16mm film! Call Ralph at 
(718) 284-0223. 

Writer/Production Assistant with extensive writing 
and audio production experience. Available for fea- 
tures, documentaries and industrial. Very reasonable. 
Call Tina (718) 651-1523. 

Young, Talented Editor with extensive commercial 
and documentary experience wants to work on creative 
dramatic projects with talented filmmakers. Ref. avail. 
Nick Goodman (212) 420-8706. 




EDUCATIONAL VIDEO CENTER 

87 Lafayette Street • New York, NY 10013 • 212-219-8129 



DITING— $10/HR, $20/HR w/editor 

W SONY RM 440/5800-5850 

VHS JVC RM 86U/BR 8600U 

CHARACTER GENERATING— $25/HR 

SONY M3A CAMERA PACKAGE - S295/DAY 
INDEPENDENTS WELCOMED 




Video Cassette Dupiicatu 



GUARANTEED FOR MASTERING 



NEW. MAJOR BRAND VIDEO CASSETTES 
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EDITING COSTS 
RUN AMOK? 

BUDGETS IN CHAOS? 

There is an alternative! 

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creatively and financially. 

Edit it yourself on VHS 
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APRIL 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 31 




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PRODUCTIONS 



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4210 PARK AVENUE 
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• General Foods 'Chad (201)348-3267 

• Public Enemy • John Blake/The Rock 

• Pirelli Tires • Boston Sports Museum 

• Say "No" To Drugs • Meadowlands Development Corp. 

Order your demo reel from the menu above. 




UNDER 
BUDGET. 

CMX 3 A video editing 
$17.00 per hour at BHI. 

CMX Edge controller 
A/B roll off line. Decision list 
management capabilities. FVxsis 
dual time base corrector 
Waveform Monitor. Vectorscope. 
And more. All for $17.00 an hour. 
And if you need to shoot under 
budget try our 16mm, Super 16 
and Betacam packages. From 
just $150 per day 

Call BHI at 718-729-3232 
and be overwhelmed by just how 
under budget nil IB nab 
you can be. B **** 




MAGES It 



-7TH AVENUE 'SUITE 201 
LONG ISLAND CITY • NEW YORK 11101 




TAPEpS wanted 

Reel Video is seeking new 
titles for national distribution 
(sales and rentals). 

6end VH<§ copy to: 
(or for more info, write) 

Reel Video 
Qt. 1. Box 72A 
Linn. WV 26384 



Please include a SASE and $11 
(for screening & return 
postage) with each tape. 

Reel Video is committed to 
developing a wider audience 
for independent film and video. 



Fully equipped 16 mm editing facilities 






Safe, convenient location 24 hour access Short & long term rentals 



New York's Only Up-the-Block, 
Round-the Clock Editing Facilities 



21 WEST 86th STREET, NYC 212-580-2075 



Production Manager, low-budget specialist w/ 50 
screen credits avail, to do budget and consultation on 
your project for financing or pre-production. Fee based 
on requirements. Stan Bickman (212) 688-7444. 

Fi ndraiserXToproducer: 1st mo. 20% commission, 
hi-salary after. Intern or Ass't Producer: low pay to 
start, will train. No media exp. nee. Award-winning 
progressive co. Projects: series on courageous people & 
home vid. on having fun. (212) 768-1600. 

Postproduction 

Bob Brodsky & Tom Treadway Super 8 & 8mm 
film-to-video mastering w/ scene-by-scene color cor- 
rection to 1", Betacam & 3/4". By appointment only. 
Call (617) 666-3372. 

Negative Matching: 16mm, super 16, 35mm. Credits 
include Jim Jarmusch. Wim Wenders. Lizzie Borden & 
Bruce Weber. Reliable results at reasonable rates. One 
White Glove. Tim Brennan. 32 1 W. 44th St.. #41 1 , New 
York, NY 10036: (212) 265-0787. 

Broadcast Quality Editing: Edit from Betacam. 3/4" 
or 3/4" SP. S99/hr including operator, sw itcher, slo-mo. 
509c discount on DVE for ArVF members. Call HDTV 
Enterprises. Inc.. near Lincoln Center (212) 874-4524. 

16mm Flatbeds for Rent: 6-plate flatbeds for rent in 
your workspace or fully equipped downtown editing 
room w/ 24-hour access. Cheapest rates in NYC for 
independent filmmakers. Call Philmaster Productions 
(212) 873^470. 

Cinergy Communications CoRP/Cinergy Sound and 
Video, 321 West 44th St., NY, NY 10036, offers 
substantial savings on complete postproduction pack- 
ages for 16mm and 35mm film and 3/4" video. Please 
call Pat Kranish (212) 582-2900. 

3/4" Professional Videotape Editing Sony decks, 
TBC. color correct, full sound EQ. more. When you 
need an editor w ho is both good & fast, call 29th Street 
Video. (212) 594-7530. Also VHS off-line editing w/ 
wipes, fades etc. From S20/hr. Call for appt. 

Super 8 24 fps transfers: scene-by-scene color correc- 
tion w/CCD telecine. Sony 700 Color Corrector w/hue, 
phase, gamma comp. neg-pos reserving, b&w tinting. 
etc.. Tascam & Dolby C. $l-3/min. 1", 1/2", 3/4" & 3/ 
4" SP + stock. S25/min. Gerald Yates (203) 359-8992. 

Post on the Coast relaxed time-code editing in Maine, 
hassle free, multi-format (3/4" SP & 1/2". incl. SEG 
freezes. Chyron. camera) software based A/B system 
w/edit list generation. Cuts only as low as S20/hr. AIVF 
discount. Expanded Video (207) 773-7005. 

Hession-Zieman Prod We make Betacam look like 
film using bdest high resolution Betacam & Betacam 
SP w/ complete off-line & on-line postprod. services. 
Field prod. & rental pkgs to suit your doc, industrial, 
music video or commercial project. (212) 529-1254. 

1 6mm Cutting Rooms: 8-plate & 6-plate fully equipped 
rooms, sound transfer facilities. 24-hr access. Down- 
town, near all subways and Canal St. Reasonable, 
negotiable rates. (212) 925-1500. 

Super 8 Speciauist Super 8 film-to-video transfer (still 
frame, slo-mo. var. speed, exact 18 or 24 fps). Quality 
all formats. 1" to VHS. T/C window. Dubs, slides, 
16mm to video. Super 8 equip, rental. We do super 8 
cinematography. Elliott Landy (212) 734-1402. 



32 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1989 



Help Yourself. Join AIVF today! 




. THE INDEPENDENT the only national 
magazine devoted exclusively to indepen- 
dent film and video production 

• Insurance: Group life, medical, disability 
and equipment insurance at affordable 
rates, plus dental insurance for New York 
and New Jersey residents 

• Festival Bureau, with current information 
on over 400 international and domestic 
film and video festivals, and screenings of 
your work for visiting festival directors 

• Advocacy in government, industry, and 
public forums to increase support for inde- 
pendent production 

• Seminars on business, technical, and aes- 
thetic issues (audio recordings available) 

• Discounts on professional services, includ- 
ing car rental, film labs, postproduction 
facilities, and equipment rental 

• Free semi-annual copies of Motion Picture 
TV & Theatre Directory ($6.95 value) 

Join AIVF today and get a one-year subscrip- 
tion to THE INDEPENDENT. Yearly mem- 
bership rates are $45 individual (add $12 for 
first class mailing of THE INDEPEN- 
DENT); $25 student (enclose proof of student 
ID); $60 library (subscription only); $85 or- 
ganization; $60 foreign (outside US, Canada 
& Mexico). To charge (Mastercard and Visa), 
call (212) 473-3400. Or send check or money 
order to: AIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor. 
New York, NY 10012 




Call or write: 

625 Broadway, 9th floor 

New York, NY 10012 

(212)473-3400 






The Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers 



SPRING SALE 

FREQUENCY DISCOUNTS 
FOR CLASSIFIED ADS 
IN THE INDEPENDENT 

FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY, 
SAVE ON MULTIPLE CLASSIFIED ADS: 

3x 6%Off = $56.40 vs$60 

4x 8% off- $73.60 vs$80 

5x 10% off » $90.00 vsSlOO 

6x 12% off » $105.60 vs$120 

7x 14% off * $120.40 vs$140 

8x 16% off * $134.40 vs$160 

9x 18% off = $147.60 vs$180 

lOx 20% Off » $160.00 vs$200 

To take advantage of this sale, send 
your ad — with no more than 250 
characters — and a check (pay- 
able to FIVF) to: Classifieds, The Inde- 
pendent. 625 Broadway, 9th floor. 
New York, NY 1 001 2. Before May 5th. 



K C C 



££ 



SKILLFUL,5j«.-able, adept, 
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CMX ON-LINE EDITING 

3/4" & BETACAM to 1 " 

3/4" OFF-LINE EDITING 

3/4" & BETACAM PRODUCTION 

21' X 54' SOUND STAGE 



Contact Terri 
(212)228-3063 

31 BOND STREET N.Y., N.Y. 10012 



Video Duplication 

3/4" U-matic & 1/2" VHS or Beta II Copies 



trom ONr 20 MINUTE5 
MASTER 3/4" 1/2' 



30 MINUTES 60 MINUTES 
3/4" 1/2" 3/4" 1 2' 



1 2" VHS BETA 



One Copy S4.00 $4.00 


S6.00 


$5.00 


S9.00 $8.00 


S1 1 CO 


$14.00 


2-4 Conn's 3 50 3.00 


5 50 


4.50 


8 00 6.00 


8 00 


9.00 


s-9 Copies 3.00 2.50 


4 50 


3.50 


7 00 5.00 


7 00 


8.00 


10-24 Copies 2.50 2.00 


4 00 


3.00 


6.00 4.50 


6 00 


7.00 


PI1ICCS. NOT INCLUDING STOCK. ARC 


PER COPY 


ASSEMBLY CHARGES ARE 


ADDITIONAL 



EQUIPMENT: 3/4" Sony. 1/2' Panasonic 2 rh. industrial rocordors and Grass 
Vallfy & Videotok distributors Timo baso correction, optional, with Microtimo 
and Toktronix pquipmont 

3/4" EDITING - PER HOUR, DAY or WEEK 

RM 440/5800-5859 " S20/HR. 
/5800-2860A - $15/HR. 
24 Hour Access Available 



(212)475-7884 

814 BROADWAY 
NEW YORK, NY 10003 



APRIL 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 33 



COOPS, 

CONDOS 

& LOFTS 

Do you want to buy or sell 

an apartment or loft in 

Manhattan or Brooklyn? 

• Find out about today's 
market for first-time buy- 
ers or trade-up sellers 

• Artists' coops /condos 
• Live /work lofts and 

houses with income 
• All price ranges 

Dana Haynes 

Lie. R.E./NYS 
718-783-6242 



SUPER 8 

TO 

VIDEO 

BEAUTIFUL QUALITY 



COLOR CORRECTED 

VARIABLE SPEED 

FREEZE FRAME 

16MM, SLIDES 
SONY '//'& BETACAM 
SUPER 8 PRODUCTION 









0JTA;;i 




21 


Fl LM TO VI DEC 

2.594*27' 


i 
78 1 



NOTICES 



Notices are listed tree of charge. Al VF 
members receive first priority; others 
are included as space permits. The 
Independent reserves the right to edit 
for length. 

Deadlines for Notices will be re- 
spected. These are the 8th of the 
month, two months prior to cover 
date, e.g., April 8 for the June issue. 
Send to: Independent Notices, FIVF, 
625 Broadway. New York, NY 10012. 



Conferences • Workshops 

Bay Area Video Coalition April & May workshops. 
Topics incl. Casting. Time Code & CMX Editing. Basic 
Video Prod.. Basic Lighting, Basic Video Engineering, 
1" Video Operations, Making & Repairing Cables. 
Intro to Amiga. Fees vary: S20 to S430. Contact: B A VC. 
1111 17th St.. San Francisco, CA 94107; (415) 861- 
3279. 

Boston Film/Video Foundation workshops begin- 
ning in April. Topics incl. Animation, Basic Video, 
Corporate Scriptwriting. Holography Seminar, Time 
Code Editing. Writing & Selling for Film & TV, Intro 
to 3/4" Editing. 16mm Film Prod.. Film-to-Tape Trans- 
fer, Actor's Workshop: Casting, Special Effects in 
Postprod., Story Structure Workshop. Developing 
Dramas for Interactive Video Disc. 109c discount for 
BF/VF members. Contact BF/VF, 1 126 Boylston St., 
Boston, MA 02215; (617) 536-1540. 

Center for New Television Workshops. Topics incl. 
Basic Video Prod.. Videotape Editing. Advanced Post- 
prod. Audio for Video & Computer Graphics Update. 
Contact Center for New TV, 912 S. Wabash, Chicago. 
FL 60605; (312) 427-5446. 

3rd Chicago Area Independent Film & Video Con- 
ference, Apr. 22 at Chicago's Cultural Ctr., sponsored 
by Chicago Area Film & Video Network. Day-long 
conf. to focus on Independent Production Service. 
Financing & distrib. of ind. projects, media arts in educ, 
& community-based video & formats. Preconf. recep- 
tion on Apr. 21 & post-conf. brunch on Apr. 23. Con- 
tact: Carolyn Glassman. program coordinator, CAFVN, 
1608 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. IL 60647; (312) 
227-1242. 

Computer Graphics Cart Rosendahl. founder of Pa- 
cific Data Images, Sat., Apr. 1. 8 p.m. at Rich Audito- 
rium. High Museum of Art, 1280 Peachtree St., NE, 
Atlanta. GA. Hosted by museum in collaboration w/ 
IMAGE Film & Video Ctr.. Computer Studio & Geor- 
gia Chapter of Nat'l Computer Artists. Cost: S5. S4 
students & srs., $3 High Museum & IMAGE members. 
Contact: IMAGE, 75 Bennett St.. N.W.. Ste. M-l, 
Atlanta. GA 30309; (404) 352-4225. 

Making a Good Script Great: 2-day seminar on keys 
to successful scriptwriting led by Linda Seger & spon- 
sored by Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Univ. Out- 
reach. Participants learn to build story structure, ideas 
& characters while giving clarity to writing. Held in 
Philadelphia. Apr. 8-9 & Dallas, June 3-4. Fee: SI 65. 
Contact: University Outreach; (414) 227-3236. 



Northwest Film & Video Center: Intro to Animation 
class for middle & high school students, taught by 
Sharon Niemczyk & offered in cooperation w/ Satur- 
day Academy. Sats. during Apr., 9:30 a.m. -3 p.m. 
Tuition: SI 15. Contact: Northwest Film & Video Ctr., 
Oregon An Institute, 1 2 1 9 SW Park Ave.. Portland. OR 
97205; (503) 690-1190. 

Trinity Square Video Workshops. Topics incl. Intro 
to Portable Video Prod.. Intro to Video Editing, Mixing 
& Mastering. Scriptwriting. Also Activism & Activism 
in Latin America seminars. Contact: Trinity Square 
Video, 172 John St., 4th fl.. Toronto, Ont.. Canada. 
M5T 1X5; (512)593-1332. 

Media Training at Film/Video Arts: Prof, instruction 
in all areas of film & video prod, on beginning & 
intermediate levels, incl. 16mm film prod.. 16mm film 
editing, video prod., video editing, screenwriting, di- 
recting, fundraising, prod, mgmt & intro to digital 
effects. Scholarships avail, for Blacks, Latinos, Asians 
& Native Americans residing in NYS. Contact: Media 
Training, F/VA, 817 Broadway, New York, NY 10003; 
(212)673-9361. 

Fast Rewind: Archaeology of Moving Images, a 4- 
day int'l conference on moving image preservation & 
application. May 4-7 in Rochester, NY. Panels & pres- 
entations on preservation, research, teaching, exchang- 
ing, financing & sharing. Contact: Rochester Institute 
of Technology, College of Liberal Arts, Bruce Austin, 
1 Lomb Memorial Dr.. Box 9887. Rochester, NY 14623- 
0887; (716) 475-6649. 

Amerjcan Film Institute Spring 1 989 seminars in LA, 
NYC, DC, Minneapolis & SF. Topics incl. acting, 
screenwriting. business, computers. Contact: AFI. Public 
Service Programs. 202 1 N. Western Ave.. Los Angeles. 
CA 90027; (800) 999-4AFI. 

fan. Experimental Film Congress in Toronto will 
feature screenings, panels & presentations on avant- 
garde cinema. Programs incl. founding women of avant- 
garde. Hollis Frampton retro, nat'l prgms from Canada, 
W. Germany, E. Europe. Latin America. Europe. May 
28-June 4. Contact: Jim Shedden. Int'l Experimental 
Film Congress. 2 Sussex Ave.. Toronto. Ont. M5S 1 J5, 
Canada; (416) 978-7790/588-8940. 

Cultural Council Foundation announces free con- 
sulting "clinics" for nonprofit arts groups in NYC. Staff 
specializes in areas such as fundraising. organizational 
devel., publicity, accounting & others. By appt only. 
Contact: Jenny Avery; (212) 473-5660. 

American Film iNSTrruTE offers 4th annual TV Writers 
Summer Workshop. 2-wk June seminar, sponsored by 
NBC. will focus on writing sketch comedy for TV. 
Selected participants will work w/ leading TV writers, 
directors & producers to develop original material for 
possible inclusion in network comedy special. Dead- 
line: Apr. 3. Contact: Dyanne Fries, AFI, TV/Video 
Services, 2021 N. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 
90027; (213) 856-7743. 

Films • Tapes Wanted 

Reel Video is seeking film/video works for nat'l dis- 
trib. — sales & rental. Send submissions on VHS & 
clearly labeled w/ S ASE & S 1 1 (for screening & return 



34 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1989 



postage) w/each tape. Please incl. SASE w/all inquir- 
ies. Contact: Reel Video, Rt. 1, Box 72A, Linn, WV 
26384. 

'60s Era Footage: Varied Directions & Ricki Green of 
WETA-DC are beginning research on a new PBS/CPB- 
funded, 6-part TV series entitled Making Sense of the 
Sixties, slated for fall 1990. Looking for completed 
films from era & outtakes. Contact: Sue Welch or 
Andree Duggan, Varied Direction, 69 Elm St., Camden, 
ME 04843; (207) 236-8506. 

Dowtown Community TV accepting tapes for ongoing 
Tues. night weekly screening series of doc, narrative, 
experimental, alternative & multi-media events. Sub- 
mit 3/4" & 1/2" work w/ return postage & pertinent info 
to: Maria Beatty, screening director, DCTV, 87 Lafay- 
ette St., New York, NY 10013; (212) 966-4510. 

Gas Station Film Probe: Forum for Experimental 
Cinema now accepting 16mm & super 8 entries for 
showcase at Gas Station. Contact: Ruben Garcia, 22 
Ave. B & 2nd St., New York, NY 10009; (212) 673- 
3304. 

New Day Films, self-distribution cooperative for in- 
dies, seeks new members w/ recent social issue docs or 
progressive films for young people. Deadline: April 1. 
Write: Ralph Arlyck, 79 Raymond Ave., Poughkeep- 
sie, NY 12601. 

Opportunities • Gigs 

Executive Director sought by FAIR (Fairness & 
Accuracy in Reporting) to work closely w/ founder/ 
pres. in setting organizational priorities & planning 
growth. Candidates must have strong admin, back- 
ground & familiarity w/ fundraising. Salary commen- 
surate w/ experience. Affirmative action candidates 
encouraged to apply. Send resume & cover letter to: 
Search Comm., FAIR, 130 W. 25th St., New York, NY 
10001; (212)633-6700. 

Executive Director & Program Coordinator sought 
by Deep Dish TV Network. Contact: Deep Dish TV, 
339 Lafayette St., New York, NY 10012; Attn: Person- 
nel Committee, or call Caryn Rogoff; (718) 727-1414. 

Director of Media Arts Ed. to take charge of exten- 
sive program in film, video, sound & computers. Create 
model programs in cooperation w/ education institu- 
tions. Design & manage progams forelementary through 
graduate levels. PhD or exceptional experience re- 
quired. Contact: Film in the Cities, 2388 University 
Ave., St. Paul, MN 551 14. 

Asst. Professor in Film/Video Production for tenure 
trk position sought by Grand Valley State Univ. School 
of Communications. PhD or MFA preferred w/ experi- 
ence in one or more of following areas: doc, animation, 
corporate, film/video art, studio TV, computer imag- 
ing, 16mm &/or portable field prod, as well as strong 
commitment to teaching theory, history, criticism & 
aesthetics. Initial 2-yr appointment begins Aug. 1989. 
Send statement of educ. philosophy, resume, samples 
of work & 3 letters of recommendation to: Search 
Committee, School of Communications, Grand Valley 
State Univ., Allendale, MI 49401. 

Video/Film Artist sought by Visual Arts Dept., UC 
San Diego for tenure track position beg. Fall '89. 
Exhibition & college teaching exp., MFA or equiv. 
required. Rank & sal. neg. Deadline: April 15. Write: 
David Antin, Visual Arts (B-027), Univ. of Cal. San 
Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093. Send letter, curriculum 



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Production Packages: 

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Walking Wolf Productions, Inc. 

212-431-8748 



vitae. 3 refs & sample of work w/ SASE. Incl. ref. # 
21071 on all mail. 

Lk; u t 1st i YOUTH Program seeks videographers, 
instructors, editors for summer positions June 18-Aug. 
18. Intercultural prgm deals w/ youth & adults in 
foothills of Blue Ridge Mtns. Non-smokers only. 
Contact: Marlene Ginsberg. Route 4. Box 265. Bedford. 
VA 24523: (703) 297-5982. 

Prison Documentary: Finavision is developing doc 
w/ Channel 4-London on spiritual liberation & regen- 
eration in prisons & is looking for coproducers in US. 
Contact: Jim Green/Philip O'Shea. Finavision Ltd.. 45. 
Hazel Rd.. London. NW 10, England: (tel) 01-969- 
1 889, (fax) Philip O'Shea. c/o Linda Siefert Assoc., 01 - 
221-0637. 

Video Curator: The Kitchen in NYC seeks curator to 
administer & facilitate on-going video exhibition. 
Actively involved in selection of work for int'l video 
distrib. program & special overseas media exhibits 
sponsored by Kitchen. Send resume, support materials 
& program ideas to: Lauren Amazeen. The Kitchen. 
512 W. 19th St.. New York. NY 10011. 



Publications •Software 

Legislative Masterpieces: 1989 update of CA arts/ 
law publication avail, from California Lawyers for the 
Arts. Topics incl. CA Resale Royalties Act, CA Art 
Preservation Act. Artist/Dealer Relations. Talent Agents. 
Toxic Hazards in the Studio, Sale of Fine Prints. Pri- 
vacy & Publicity & CA Housing Law. Price: S10 plus 
S.65 sales tax & SI postage. (Out-of-state orders do not 
pay tax: members of CLA receive 10% discount & 
should pay S 10.59.) Contact: California Lawyers for 
the Arts. Fort Mason Ctr.. San Francisco, CA 94123; 
(415) 775-7200. 

Video Data Bank: 1989 New Listings Supplement 
catalogs now avail. Incl. experimental videos on sex & 
gender: art & politics; AIDS: race & culture & contem- 
porary art. Contact: Video Data Bank. 280 S. Colum- 
bus. Chicago. IL 60603: (312) 443-3793. 

History of British Video Art: New package of tapes 
influential in formation of video art. Incl. fully detailed 
& illustrated tape sleeve & comprehensive 6-page 
program. Contact: London Video Access. 23 Frith St. 
London Wl V 5TS. UK: or call Marion Urch; 01-734- 
7410or0M37-2786. 

While America Sleeps: An Action Agenda docu- 
ments 8-mo. study by Rose Economou on quality & 
quantity of foreign affairs programming on US TV & 
radio. Study conducted for Council on Foreign Rela- 
tions & funded by Ford Foundation. Contact: Council 
on Foreign Relations. 58 E. 68th St.. New York. NY 
10021: (212)734-0400. 

Foundation Centers new publications incl. Direc- 
tory of New & Emerging Foundations , $75 & New York 
State Foundations: A Comprehensive Directory, SI 50. 
Add S2 shipping & handling. Contact: Foundation 
Center, 79 Fifth Ave., Dept. LX, New York, NY 10003; 
(800) 424-9836. 

Black American Film: Up-to-date survey covers clas- 
sics to contemporaries; incl. interviews, biographies, 
filmographies. Avail, in English & French. Send $20 to: 
CinemAction. 106. Blvd. Saint-Denis. 92400 Cour- 
bevoie. France. 



Resources • Funds 

Apparatus Productions seeks unique. 16mm film 
projects requiring funds for prod, or postprod. Provide 
support & limited funding on short, experimental nar- 
rative projects. Deadline: Apr. 1 . For appl., send SASE 
to Apparatus Productions. 225 Lafayette St., Rm. 507. 
New York, NY 10012. 

Astrea Foundation: Funds for women's orgs in PA, 
NY, NJ, RI, DC, MD. MA, DE & CT. Will consider 
media projects designed to serve as educ. & organizing 
tools to promote progressive social change. Grants 
from S500-5.000. Deadline: May 31. Appl. from Astrea 
Foundation, 666 Broadway, Ste. 610, New York, NY 
10012; (212)529-8021. 

Corporation for Public Broadcasting: Open Solici- 
tation deadlines: Apr. 21. Contact: Television Program 
Fund, CPB. 1 1 1 1 16th St. NW. Washington, DC 20036. 

Film in the Cities announces 1988-89 regional film/ 
video grants. Prod, grants of up to $ 1 6.000 for new 
projects by mid-career artists w/ budgets less than 
S60.000. Encouragement grants of up to S3.000 for new 
projects by emerging artists w/budgets less than $ 1 0.000. 
Work in progress grants of up to $7,000 for projects w/ 
at least half shooting completed or editing underway. 
Contact: F/V Grants. FITC, 2388 University Ave., St. 
Paul, MN 551 14; (612) 646-6104. 

1989-90 Fulbright Grants avail, for US faculty in 
fields of communications & journalism. Openings in 
many countries still avail. PhD or teaching experience, 
evidence of scholarly productivity & US citizenship 
required. Contact: Council for Int'l Exchange of Schol- 
ars, 1 1 Dupont Circle, Ste. 300. Washington. DC 20036- 
1257. 

Grants for Interdisciplinary Artists administered 
by DiverseWorks & Southwest Alternative Media 
Project. Provides funds for artists whose activities fuse 
different disciplines, w/ grants of up to $5,000. Open to 
artists who are not full-time students & have resided for 
at least one yr in TX, OK, AK. NE, KS, or MS. Funding 
provided by Rockefeller Foundation & NEA. Deadline: 
May 1. Contact: GPIA. DiverseWorks. 214 Travis St., 
Houston. TX 77002; (713) 223-8346 or 522-8592. 

Midatlantic Arts Foundation Visual Arts Resi- 
dency grants avail, for 1990/91 projects. Supports resi- 
dencies by indiv. artists & prof, art critics. Deadline: 
July 14. Contact: MidAtlantic Arts Foundation. 1 1 E. 
Chase St.. Ste. 2A, Baltimore, MD 21202; (301) 539- 
6656. 

RISC A Organizational Grants in Access Initiatives. 
Arts Programming, Education. General Operating 
Support & Organizational Development; also Individ- 
ual Artist Support for Artist Development Grants & 
Artist Fellowships. Deadline: Apr. 1. Contact: Rhode 
Island State Council on the Arts. 95 Cedar St., Ste. 103, 
Providence, RI 02903; (401) 277-3880. 

Women in Film Foundation Grants & Scholarships: 
Family Ties Scholarship of S25.OO0 to a woman w/ 1 or 
more children or divided among several women, to 
pursue or continue educ. in film. TV, communications 
or media journalism. Film Finishing Fund offers com- 
pletion grants for ind. films & tapes by women on 
general humanitarian concerns, Loreeen Arbus Award 
of S5.000 for an ind. prod, by a woman on issues related 
to disability & CFI Services Award in-kind grant of 
postprod. services for ind. film by a woman based in 



36 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1989 



rHE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO 
AND FILMMAKERS MEANS: 

• Comprehensive health, disability, life, and equipment insurance at affordable rates 

• Festival Bureau: your inside track to over 400 international and domestic film and video festivals 

• Advocacy in government, industry, and public forums to increase support for independent production 

• Seminars on business, technical, and aesthetic issues 

• Discounts on professional services, including car rental, film labs, post-production facilities & equipment rental 
AND 

• A subscription to THE INDEPENDENT Film and Video Monthly, the only national film and video magazine 
tailored to your needs (10 issues per year) 



AWf 



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diversified catalogue 

of information for 

all your film 

and video 

needs. 



wealth of information is now available 
to you through AIVF by mail or in 
person. Our book/tape list covers practically every facet of the field. 
Subjects covered are production, fundraising, legal, screenwriting, 
technical, super 8, lighting, audio, public tv, cable, video, copyright, dis- 
tribution, political and more. 



Complete the other side of this card and 
mail to AIVF to receive a complete list of 
books and tapes available or call us at 
212-473-3400. 



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oin AIVF Today and Get a One- Year Subscription to 
THE INDEPENDENT Magazine. 

Enclosed is my check or money order for: 

$45 /year individual (in US & Puerto Rico) 
(Add $12 for first class mailing) 

I I $25/year student (encl: proof of student ID) 

$60/year library (subscription only) 

I I $85/year organization 

I I $60 /year foreign (outside US, Canada & 

Mexico), surface rate 
I I (Add $15 for foreign air mail) 



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Name 



Address_ 
City 



State 



Zip. 



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Telephone 



Please bill my: Visa Mastercard 

Acct. # 



Exp. Date 
Signature 



OR: Send check or money order to: AIVF, 625 Broadway, 
9th floor, New York, NY 10012; or call (212) 473-3400. 








lease send me the latest copy 
of your book and tape list. 



Name_ 



Address. 
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State. 



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AM 

AIVF Publications 
625 Broadway 
9th Floor 
New York, NY 10012 



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LA. Deadline: Apr. 10. Contact: Women in Film Foun- 
dation, Women in Film, 6464 Sunset Blvd., Ste. 660, 
Los Angeles, CA 90028, Attn: Pam Pulver. 

Barbara Aronofsky Latham Memorial Grants 
awarded for work that demonstrates potential in 2 cats: 
Video & Electronic Visual Art; History, Theory & 
Criticism of Video or Electronic Art. Grants range from 
$300-1500. Must be over 18-yrs-old to apply. Appl. 
deadline: April 15. For appl. guidelines, contact: Office 
of the Provost, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 
Columbus Drive at Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60603; 
(312)443-3937. 

Trims & Glitches 

Congrats to Liane Brandon who received a 1988 
Special Commendation from the Boston Society of 
Film Critics for "outstanding examination of social 
issues through film." 

Kudos to Loni Ding & Donna Matorin, 1988 winners 
of James D. Phelan Arts Awards in Video. 

AIVF Members who received grants from Independent 
Production Fund are Ingrid Weigand, Ana Maria Gar- 
cia, Luisa Guida, Jan Krawitz & Kim Smith. Congratu- 
lations! 

Barbara Abrash & Martha Sandlin, coproducers of 
Indians, Outlaws and Angie Debo, received Eric Bar- 
nouw Award & Wrangler Award. Congratulations! 

Kudos to winners of Jerome Foundation film & video 
artist production grants: Todd Haynes, Franco Marinai, 
Terese Svoboda, Anne Floumoy, Doug Eisenstark & 
Jack Walsh. 

Christian & Steffan Pierce & Zone Art Center won 
grants from the Mass Productions program of the 
Massachusetts Council on the Arts & Humanities. 
Congratulations! 

Congrats to Zone Production's video documentary 
They Say They Will/Decen Que Lo Haran, which re- 
ceived Silver Award at the 1988 Houston Int'l Film 
Festival. 



HEALTH INSURANCE FOR 
AIVF MEMBERS 

ATVF offers its members excellent group medical 
and life insurance plans, administered by The En- 
tertainment Industry Group Insurance Trust 
(TElGiT)- Our comprehensive medical plan 
offers: 

• $200 deductible 

♦ 80% coinsurance 

* yearly out-of-pocket cost set at $1,000 
maximum & $1,000,000 maximum lifetime 
benefit 

Other plans are available, including disability 
income insurance with a $500 monthly benefit. 

To join AIVF or for more information, write 

ATVF Membership Services 

625 Broadway, 9th floor 

New York NY 10012 

or call Ethan Young, (212) 473-3400 



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Karen Ranucci 

International Production Services 
project coordinator and director of 
Latin American research 

As The Independent reported in November 1987, 
the Foundation for Independent Video and Film 
(FIVF)* received a grant from the Rockefeller 
Foundation to research and publish a directory of 
film and video production resources in Latin 
America. Africa, and Asia. After some initial re- 
search, we decided to publish three separate direc- 
tories — one for each region. I was hired to coordi- 
nate the Latin American directory. This section 
has been completed and will be printed and dis- 
tributed soon. Pearl Bowser is researching and 
compiling the African section. Work will begin 
on the Asian section later this year. 

Over the past two years I contacted about 1 000 
individuals and groups throughout Latin America 
and the Caribbean and entered information in a 
computerized database. The original plan was to 
focus on independent producers, but as the re- 
search progressed we learned that distinctions 
like "independent" and "commercial" are not al- 
ways useful or appropriate. Since there is almost 
no funding for independent production in Latin 
America, independents must often work commer- 
cially and produce their own work "on the side." 
In other cases, it also became necessary to list 
state-run institutions. For example, there are no 
private production groups in Cuba. Therefore, the 
database categorized each group as one of four 
types: state-run. nonprofit, commercial, or inde- 
pendent. The directory will also detail: 

• The kind of work they do, i.e.. whether a produc- 
tion company, exhibitor, distributor, festival, 
broadcast outlet, equipment repair technician, 
publication, film lab, association/network, ar- 
chive, audio specialist, or information provider. 

• Whether they work in film, video, or both. 

• What services they offer, i.e.. customs liaison, 
transportation, translation, location scouting, 
production assistants, camera operators, and 
sound and lighting technicians. 

• Whether they rent production and/or postpro- 
duction equipment. 

• Whether they can make transfers — such as film 
to tape, tape to film, film to film, or video 
standard conversion. 

FIVF is also exploring the possibility of periodi- 
cally updating this information and adapting it for 
specialized uses. Forexample. if someone wanted 
a list of video repair technicians in Bolivia, we 
would be able to pull a list from the data and print 
it. 

The process of making these contacts has been 
both an arduous and enriching experience. Inter- 
national communication, especially by post, is 
unreliable at best. Much of the work was accom- 



plished by exploring personal contacts and build- 
ing relationships. Some groups were reluctant to 
give information about their work. They were not 
familiar with AIVF or FIVF and unsure of the 
purpose of the survey. To reassure them that our 
aim was to collect and share information in a way 
that would be mutually beneficial, we made two 
promises: we would not list a group that did not 
respond to our questionnaire in the directory, and 
each group listed would receive a free copy of the 
published book. The success of this policy is de- 
monstrated by the 400 responses we received 
from the 1,000 questionnaires we have distrib- 
uted. 

The Latin American directory will be pub- 
lished in both English and Spanish. FIVF's distri- 
bution of the Spanish version in Latin America 
will be undertaken by the Instituto Para America 
Latina (IPAL). a Peruvian group that researches, 
analyses, publishes reports, and organizes confer- 
ences on subjects relating to international com- 
munication. The Instituto has been a great help 
during the project's research phase by giving us 
lists of their Latin American contacts, and they 
will print and distribute the Spanish language 
directory. 

Much of the information contained in these 
directories will become dated very quickly. We 
are including a blank questionnaire in the direc- 
tory, so that groups who are not currently listed or 
groups who are listed but need to change some of 
the published information can do so. We hope to 
maintain contact with people who are traveling in 
Latin America and willing to take questionnaires 
to local film and video groups in foreign coun- 
tries.** We have established cooperative rela- 
tionships with a number of groups throughout 
Latin America that are capable of updating infor- 
mation about their country and returning that 
revised information to our office. 

When this project was first proposed to the 
Rockefeller Foundation, we knew that the direc- 
tories would be valuable to North American inde- 
pendent video- and filmmakers shooting in Latin 
America, Africa, and Asia. What we didn't know 
was that film- and videomakers in those regions 
shared the desire to know more about their col- 
leagues in North America and Europe as well as 
independents in the countries that will be covered 
in the directories. Independent film- and video- 
makers in many countries are beginning to organ- 
ize their own associations. Our work may be 
helpful to their efforts. In time, perhaps together 
we can build an international AIVF. 



* FIVF is the educational foundation affiliate of AIVF 
which obtains grants for seminars, publications, and 
public information activities about independent media. 
Many of AIVF's programs are cosponsored by FIVF. 

** If you are traveling and can help us make interna- 
tional contacts, please call us at AIVF. (2 12) 473-3400. 



38 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1989 



FIVF DONOR- ADVISED FILM AND VIDEO FUND 



CALL FOR PROPOSALS 

The Donor- Advised Film and Video Fund works with foundations and individual donors who wish 

to support independently produced social issue media. A peer review panel screens works and 
recommends finalists to donors for funding consideration. In 1989, FIVF is seeking proposals for 

works in the following categories: 

PEACE 

The Benton Foundation will make two grant awards in this area totalling 

$15,000: the Marjorie Benton Peace Film Award of $5,000 for a completed 

film or video that best promotes public understanding of international peace 

and a $10,000 post-production grant for a work-in-progress whose 

photography is substantially completed and that advances the interests of 

international peace. 

COMMUNICATIONS 

The Benton Foundation will also award a $10,000 post-production grant for a 
work-in-progress that explores the role of communications and information in 

society. 

ENVIRONMENT 

The Beldon Fund will make grants totalling $20,000 for production, editing, 
completion or distribution of works dealing with environmental issues. 

SOCIAL CHANGE 

The Edelman Family will make grants totalling $12,000 for projects that 

explore or document social change. Preference will be given to requests for 

development funds for projects addressing contemporary issues. 



The Donor- Advised Film and Video Fund is interested in projects that combine intellectual clarity 

and journalistic quality with creative film- and videomaking. Priority will be given to works on 

issues that have received minimal coverage and have potential for wide distribution. 

For application materials send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: 
FIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10012. 

Applicants must be affiliated with a tax-exempt nonprofit organization. Institutional projects for 
internal or promotional use, public television station productions, and student productions are not 

eligible. 

Deadline for receipt of applications is July 3, 1989. 

Grant decisions will be made on or before December 15, 1989. 



APRIL 1989 THE INDEPENDENT 39 



MEMORANDA 



MINUTES OF THE AIVF/FIVF BOARD 
OF DIRECTORS MEETING 



Ai its meeting on January 28. 1989. the AIVF/ 
FIVF board of directors decided to continue to 
re\ lew possibilities for a new logo. The board 
thought the logo should convey "strength." "ac- 
ti\ ism." "movement." and an attention to video as 
well as film. Portfolios will be solicited from 
graphic designers and considered at the next 
board meeting. 

The board discussed an updated Guide to 
Distributors which FIVF plans to publish using a 
grant from the MacArthur Foundation. Kathryn 
Bow ser. festival bureau and information services 
director, reported on the progress of the guide, 
which will include information about more than 
200 distributors. 

Karen Ranucci reported on the development of 
the guide to Latin American production re- 
sources, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. 
The guide, w hich will include approximately 400 
entries, will be published this spring in both 
English and Spanish editions, and w ill be distrib- 
uted in the U.S. and Latin America. The board 
discussed possible ways to update the guide, and 
requested that Ranucci prepare written recom- 
mendations for maintaining a permanent data- 
base. Pearl Bowser has beeun research on a simi- 



lar guide to resources in Africa. 

The increasing cost of AI VF's health insurance 
plan w as noted and discussed, and the board sup- 
ported staff efforts to locate and offer members a 
less expensive plan. Suggestions from members 
are welcome. 

The Independent reported that it has a new pan- 
time advertising director. Andy Moore joined the 
staff in late November and will be handling all 
display advertising sales for the magazine. 

The next two board meetings are scheduled for 
March 18 and June 17. 1989. Members are en- 
couraged to attend board meetings and work w ith 
committees. Confirm dates in advance. For more 
information, call AIVF. (212) 473-3400. 

FIVF THANKS 

The Foundation for Independent Video and Film 
(FIVF). the foundation affiliate of the Association 
of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF), 
supports a variety of programs and services for the 
independent producer community, including 
publication of The Independent, maintenance of 
the Festival Bureau, seminars and workshops, an 
information clearinghouse, and a grant-making 




This production still from Who Killed Vincent Ch/n?,which was nominated for an Academy 
Award in the feature documentary category, pictures codirectors and coproducers Renee 
Tajima (far left) and Christine Choy (between camera operator and soundperson) on 
location shooting one of the interviews for their film. This year, the staff of The Independent, 
as well as everyone who works at AIVF, will watch the awards ceremony with acute interest, 
in hopes that an Oscar will go to our colleagues Renee and Chris— Independent associate 
editor and AIVF board member, respectively. (We got this news after our copy deadline was 
well past. Other AIVF members who received Academy Award nominations will be cited in 
the May issue.) Photo courtesy Film News Now Foundation. 



program. None of this work would be possible 
without the generous support of the following 
agencies, foundations and organizations: The 
New York State Council on the Arts, the National 
Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, the 
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, 
the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fund, the 
Beldon Fund, the Morgan Guaranty Trust Com- 
pany of New York, the Consolidated Edison 
Company of New York, the Benton Foundation, 
the Funding Exchange, and the dozens of organi- 
zations that advertise in The Independent. 

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Unofficial Stories 

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CONTENTS 



FEATURES 

1 6 Innocents Abroad: Joy Pereths Talks about Foreign Markets 

by Renee Tajima and Patricia Thomson 

2 I Unofficial Stories: Documentaries by Latinas and Latin American Women 

by Liz Kotz 

2 MEDIA CLIPS 

To Halve and Halve Not: Massachusetts Cuts Arts Funding 

by Karen Rosenberg 

IPS Update 

by Martha Gever 

Silverlight at the End of the Tunnel 

by Lorna Johnson 

Film Forum's Demolition Deadline 

by Patricia Thomson 

Standby on Standby 

MacArthur Media Funding Expands 

by Kelly Anderson 

Stephen C. Ning: 1950-1989 

by Renee Tajima 

14 LEGAL BRIEF 

States Rights: Humanities Councils Contracts 

by Renee Tajima 

12 FIELD REPORT 

School Days: The National Alliance of Media Arts Centers Conference 

by Martha Gever 

28 FESTIVALS 

From Russia with Love: The International Non-Feature Film Festival in Leningrad 

by Lyn Goldfarb, Anne Borin, Alyson Denny, Robert Stone, Sue Marx, Robert 
Richter, Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon, and Lawrence Sapadin 

In Brief 

37 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Renee Tajima 

39 CLASSIFIEDS 

41 NOTICES 

43 PROGRAM NOTES 

by Ethan Young 



COVER: Film still from Las Madres: The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, by 
Susana Muhoz and Lourdes Portillo. The film describes the campaign of 
Argentinean women who seek information about their children and 
grandchildren who were "disappeared" during the years that the right- 
wing military dictatorship was in power. Las Madres is part of a growing 
body of film and video productionsmade by women which has devel- 
oped over the past decade, changing the shape and direction of New 
Latin American Cinema. In "Unofficial Stories: Documentaries by Latinas 
and Latin American Women," Liz Kotz examines the impetus, themes, 
and stylistic innovations of this work. Photo courtesy Direct Cinema. 




MAY 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 1 



MEDIA CLIPS 



TO HALVE AND HALVE NOT: 

MASSACHUSETTS 

CUTS ARTS FUNDING 



Artists and arts administrators were caught by 
surprise on February 22 when the Massachusetts 
House Ways and Means Committee proposed to 
cut the budget of the state's Council on the Arts 
and Humanities from the S19.5-million of fiscal 
year 1989 to zilch in 1990. "The Council had 
expected a cut. but had never contemplated abo- 
lition." wrote reporter Jeff McLaughlin in the 
Boston Globe. In \\ hat « as termed a compromise, 
the House of the Massachusetts legislature subse- 
quent^ decided on slightly less than 50 percent 
funding (which may be increased by the state 
Senate) in order to fulfill the slogan "No New 
Taxes." 

In the da\ s that followed the initial proposal to 
w ipe out funding for the Council, many media arts 
organizations phoned or wrote their members 
urging them to contact their state legislators to 
protest the cuts. "It happened so suddenly, there 
m as little time for organizational discussions about 
how to combat the proposal." says Abraham 
Ra\ett. a filmmaker from Florence. Massachu- 
setts. The local newspapers and TV news pro- 
grams chose to emphasize the positive economic 
impact of arts funding on the state's fiscal health. 
That's partly because the New England Founda- 
tion for the Arts ( NEFA ) had just prepared a study 
of the effect of the nonprofit sector on the state 
economy, and what it said was news: The Massa- 
chusetts cultural industry generated S 1 .24-billion 
in spending in 1 988. as compared to S496-million 
in 1 978. The benefit to the state in terms of tourist 
dollars, tax revenues, and jobs was echoed by 
media arts groups on the assumption that this is 
w hat w buld make voters and legislators favorably 
disposed tow ard the Council, despite a large state 
deficit. 

There w as some discussion in the Boston Globe 
of science programs for school children that w ould 
suffer if funding for the Council was cut signifi- 
cantly. But. in public at least, there was little 
emphasis on the way the arts educate residents and 
\ isitors about controversial social issues, ethics, 
and diverse cultures. A March 8 rally for the 
Council in front of the State House did address 
these humanistic and political concerns, but they 
were hardly reported. 

"Has there been a genuine public debate?" asks 
Jill Medvedow. director of contemporary arts at 
NEFA. "The question of values has hardly come 
up. and there's been almost no conversation about 
progressive taxation in this state." Media artists 



have been as reluctant as anyone to mouth the 
word "taxes." In response to pro-arts lobbying, 
state senator John Olver urged one constituent. 
"Voice your support for fair taxation." This might 
mean joining the Tax Equity Alliance for Massa- 
chusetts in pushing for the elimination of capital 
gains deductions. Lobbying for an amendment to 
the state constitution to institute a graduated state 
income tax is another possibility. 

On March 9. the Massachusetts House ap- 
proved an allocation of S9.5-million for the Coun- 
cil, to come out of lottery revenues. If the state 
Senate aw ards a different amount, a compromise 
w ill have to be hammered out by a conference 
committee and then passed by both legislative 
houses. This process could be lengthy and all 
concerned have been advised to keep the heat on. 

How w ould cuts of 50 percent effect the media 
arts in Massachusetts? "It's too early to say how 
the money would be utilized, but it would mean 
cuts in everything." says Council spokesperson 
Faye Rapoport. Individuals like Ravett would not 
get full funding to complete a two-year film proj- 
ect. "Film stock, optical printing — all sorts of 
production and postproduction costs — would not 
be met." Ravett says. 

Institutions like Boston Film/Video Founda- 
tion might have to raise prices across the board 
(on equipment rental, screenings, membership. 
etc.), cut back on activities that don't earn in- 
come, and program semi-commercial events that 
are sure to bring in revenue, director Anne Marie 
Stein notes. Susan Walsh of Newton Television 
Foundation, a nonprofit video production center, 
is worried about how to replace the general opera- 
tional support that the Council has provided — 
about 25 percent of the Foundation's budget. "It 
will be hard to replace the Merit Aid money if it 
is lost, because foundations like to support special 
projects, as opposed to general operating ex- 
penses." says Walsh. It's also difficult to interest 
corporations and foundations in super 8. socio- 
political, and experimental works, which panels 
at the Massachusetts Council have often funded. 
"You can't say that the private sector will pick up 
the difference," says NEFA's Medvedow. "That 
hasn't worked in the last eight years." 

It seems certain that cuts in the Council would 
make Massachusetts a more provincial place. 
Senegalese filmmaker Safi Faye accepted an in- 
vitation to the next Dorothy Arzner International 
Film and Video Festival, sponsored by the New 



-IlM & V DEO MONTH LY 

INXPEIOENr 



MAY 1989 

VOLUME 12, NUMBER 4 



Publisher 

Editor 

Managing Editor 

Associate Editor 

Contributing Editors 



Editorial Staff: 

Production Staff: 
Art Director: 
Advertising: 

National Distributor: 



Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Patricia Thomson 
Renee Tajima 
Kathryn Bowser 
Bob Brodsky 
Karen Rosenberg 
Quynh Thai 
Toni Treadway 
Kelly Anderson 
Ray Navarro 
Jeanne Brei 
Christopher Holme 
Andy Moore 
(212) 473-3400 
Bernhard DeBoer 
113E. Center St. 
Nutley, NJ07110 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published ten times 
yearly by the Foundation for Independent 
Video and Film. Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 
9th Floor, New York, NY 10012, (212-473- 
3400), a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educa- 
tional foundation dedicated to the promo- 
tion of video and film, and Py the Associa- 
tion of Independent Video and Filmmakers, 
Inc. (AIVF), the national trade association of 
independent producers and individuals 
involved in independent video and film. 
Subscription is included with membership in 
AIVF. Together FIVF and AIVF provide a 
broad range of educational and pro- 
fessional services for independents and the 
general public. Publication of The Indepen- 
dent is made possible in part with public 
funds from the New York State Council on 
the Arts and the National Endowment for 
the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be re- 
turned unless a stamped, self-addressed 
envelope is included. No responsibility is as- 
sumed for loss or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be 
addressed to the editor. Letters may be ed- 
ited for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foun- 
dation for Independent Video and Film, 
Inc., except where otherwise noted. 
Reprints require written permission and ac- 
knowledgement of the article's previous 
appearance in The Independent. ISSN 0731- 
5198 The Independent is indexed in the 
Alternative Press Index. 

E Foundation for Independent Video ond Film, Inc 1989 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin. ex- 
ecutive director; Ethan Young, membership/ pro- 
gramming director. Kathryn Bowser, festival bureau 
director. Morton Marks, audio/business manager: Sol 
Horwitz. Short Film Showcase project administrator. 
Kelly Anderson, administrative assistant 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Robert Aaronson. 
Adrianne Benton . Skip Blumberg (treasurer) . Christine 
Choy. Loni Ding (vice-president). Lisa Frigand.* Dai Si I 
Kim-Gibson. Wendy Lidell (secretary). Regge Life 
(chair). Tom Luddy.* Lourdes Portillo. Robert Richter 
(president). Lawrence Sapadin (ex officio) Steve 
Savage.' Deborah Shaffer. John Taylor Williams " 

• FIVF Board of Defectors only 



2 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1989 



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England organization Women in Film and Video. 
The big question is whether they will receive 
Funding to bring international films and film- 
makers to the Boston area. (Their application for 
fiscal year 1 wo is under rev iew.) Needless to say, 
there are precious few commercial venues for for- 
eign films these days, even in Boston and the 
Amherst/Northampton area. 

And then there is the export of culture from the 
state, which the Council has facilitated. Mixed 
Signals, produced b\ Medvedow at NEFA and 
curated by Michele Furst. produces and distrib- 
utes programs of short works to over 150 cable 
channels in New England. It receives Council 
money . as does the Contemporary Art Tele\ ision 
(CAT) Fund at the Institute of Contemporary' Art, 
whose programs have been broadcast in Europe. 
Australia, and Canada, as well as the United 
States. The CAT Fund stands to be doubl\ af- 
fected by decreased state funding, because the 
National Endowment for the Arts often matches 
Massachusetts Council grants, says ICA director 
David Ross. 

If the Massachusetts experience proves any- 
thing, it's that film- and videomakers cannot af- 
ford complacency. A multi-faceted strategy must 
be worked out to combat would-be budget slash- 
ers. If the Massachusetts Council — a leader among 
state arts agencies — is vulnerable, media artists in 
other states would be unwise to rest secure. 
McLaughlin of the Boston Globe has already 
posed the ominous question: "Is Massachusetts a 
harbinger?" 

KAREN ROSENBERG 

IPS UPDATE 

With an October 1 deadline as the sole point of 
agreement, the National Coalition of Independent 
Public Broadcasting Producers and the Corpora- 
tion for Public Broadcasting have embarked on a 
series of negotiations over the establishment of 
the new Independent Production Service man- 
dated by Congress in the Public Telecommunica- 
tions Act of 1988. In the law. Congress directed 
CPB to "work w ith organizations or associations 
of independent producers or independent produc- 
tion entities to develop a plan and budget for the 
operation of such service." The Coalition submit- 
ted a plan for setting up the new service to CPB in 
October, shortly before the President signed the 
bill. That plan proposed a six-person "temporary 
incorporating committee." which would develop 
by-laws, incorporation papers, a mission state- 
ment, and board selection procedures and then 
submit these to CPB for approval as required by 
law. Despite the Coalitions requests that CPB 
mo\ e quickly, the Corporation did not call its first 
working meeting with Coalition representatives 
until late February. 

On February 23. CPB representatives Jennifer 
Law son of the Program Fund. Joseph Widoff 
from the Business Affairs Office, and Sylvia 
Winik from CPB's legal office met in Washing- 



ton. D.C.. with Larry Hall. Lawrence Sapadin. 
and the Coalition's law\er David M. Rice. Al- 
though both sides expressed optimism about the 
prompt establishment of the IPS. CPB raised 
objections to the Coalition's plan. As a result. 
further meetings have been stalled and a thick 
sheaf of often heated correspondence has been 
generated. 

The specific differences betw een the two groups 
at times seem like legalistic haggling, but the 
disputes reflect significant disagreements about 
the underlying purpose of an Independent Pro- 
duction Service and the Coalition's role as repre- 
sentative of independent producers in dealing 
with CPB. For example. CPB took the position 
that the Coalition's negotiating team was not 
sufficiently representative in terms of geographi- 
cal regions, ethnicity, or film/video genres. The 
Coalition committee consists of Neighborhood 
Film/Video Project executive director Linda 
Blackaby. independent producers Pam Yates and 
Hector Galan. the Coalition's legislative liaison 
Larry Hall. Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers executivedirector Lawrence Sapadin. 
Film Arts Foundation executivedirectorGailSilva. 
and Ohio Valley Regional Media Arts Coalition 
director Austin Allen (who was added to the com- 
mittee at the Coalition's meeting in Rochester. 
New York). In response, the Coalition indicated 
that it was w iiling to expand the committee to 
include organizations of every kind requested by 
CPB. CPB replied by insisting on a the creation of 
a new. non-Coalition incorporating group and 
would not accept an expanded Coalition team. 
More recently. CPB suggested bypassing the stage 
of convening an incorporating committee alto- 
gether and instead commencing selection of the 
first board for the IPS. In this scheme, the incor- 
poration process would then be turned over for the 
new board to work out w ith CPB. and. formally, 
the Coalition would be out of the picture. While 
the Coalition agreed in principle w ith an acceler- 
ated process, it wanted to negotiate w ith CPB on 
a statement of purpose and future board selection 
procedures before turning matters over to an as \ et 
unnamed board of directors. CPB refused. In 
addition. CPB insisted on its right to appoint 
board members unilaterally — without Coalition 
approval. 

CPB also insisted on the participation of station 
representatives in any incorporation negotiations. 
The Coalition, on the other hand, strongly ob- 
jected to station involvement in draw ing the blue- 
print for the new service, pointing out that the 
stations have vigorously opposed the Independ- 
ent Production Sen ice and arguing that such in- 
volvement would be a clear conflict of interest. In 
an effort to compromise, the Coalition offered to 
permit station personnel to participate as part oi 
CPB's team at the bargaining table, but CPB 
declined. Instead, thej insisted on the stations' 
involvement as full third parties to the negotia- 
tions. That would permit station representatives to 
veto agreements reached by CPB and the Coali- 
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1 . The Independent Production Serv- 
ice (IPS) is established pursuant to the 
Public Broadcasting Act of 1988 for 
the purpose of contracting with the 
Corporation for Public Broadcasting 
(CPB) for the production of public 
television programs by independent 
producers and independent production 
entities. 

2. The IPS, through its policies and 
practices, will be designed to further 
the federal public broadcasting policy 
of encouraging the development of 
programming that involves creative 
risks and that addresses the needs of 
unserved and underserved audiences, 
particularly children and minorities. 

3. IPS will commission, acquire, pack- 
age, distribute, and promote indepen- 
dently-produced television program- 
ming. Its funds will be used exclu- 
sively to expand the diversity and 
innovativeness of programming avail- 
able to public broadcasting. 

4. The IPS will undertake to support 
programs that do not duplicate pro- 
gramming already available on public 
broadcasting or other commercial tele- 
communications services. The IPS will 
develop new audiences. 

5. IPS will work diligently to insulate 
its programming decisions from the 
pressures both of undue political influ- 
ence and of marketplace forces. Spe- 
cifically, IPS will neither select nor 
evaluate programs on the basis of suita- 
bility for corporate underwriting or 
viewer subscription development, or 
the ability to attract outside produc- 
tion funding. 

6. The IPS will be governed by a 



board of distinguished citizens who, 
individually, have a demonstrated 
commitment to the goals of diversity, 
innovation, excellence, and artistic and 
editorial integrity in public broadcast- 
ing programming. In addition, board 
members will be required to have a 
demonstrated awareness and under- 
standing of independent media. Col- 
lectively, the board will reflect a ra- 
cial, ethnic, gender, sexual orienta- 
tion, regional, and artistic diversity 
and will also reflect the diversity of 
television genres. 

7. Public broadcasting station person- 
nel will be represented on the IPS 
advisory council and on its governing 
board as appropriate and on the basis 
of commitment to the above goals and 
policies for independent production 
and public broadcasting. 

8. The IPS must remain accountable 
to the independent producer commu- 
nity. Accordingly, the organizations 
and associations of the independent 
media field, through their representa- 
tive National Coalition of Indepen- 
dent Public Broadcasting Producers 
(National Coalition), shall select board 
members to serve on the governing 
board of the IPS. Board members must 
be acceptable to CPB, but CPB shall 
not unreasonably refuse to accept a 
board member proposed by the Na- 
tional Coalition. 

9. The IPS will work with indepen- 
dent producers and public broadcast- 
ing station personnel and their repre- 
sentatives to promote maximum ap- 
propriate carriage within the public 
broadcasting system of the programs 
that the IPS funds. 



* These principles were unanimously adopted by the National Coalition of Independent Public Broadcasting 
Producers at the group's March 20 meeting in Rochester. New York. 



6 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1989 






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with independent producer organizations to set up 
the service. No mention is made of station in- 
volvement in the incorporation phase, although 
report language accompanying the law suggests 
that stations should be represented on the boards 
that oversee and advise the IPS. 

Traditionally, public TV stations — especially 
the large, powerful stations in major markets — 
have not been receptive to risky or controversial 
independent work. The Coalition"s position re- 
garding station involvement in the formative stages 
of the IPS is meant to prevent restrictions in the 
service's scope or imposition of a narrow view of 
the work that it may support. In a letter to CPB. 
Coalition negotiator Hall characterized the plan to 
give PBS a central role in the IPS as a recapitula- 
tion of CPB 's "erosion of Open Solicitations as a 
vehicle for diversity and innovation." 

In an effort to dismantle CPB's roadblock to 
negotiations, media centers from around the coun- 
try are once again calling and writing the key 
Congressional personnel asking them to press 
CPB to recognize the Coalition as the field's 
designated representative on the IPS. Only then 
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begin the task of setting up a pioneering, new 
program service for public television. 

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What do you do when your film has been to the 
Cannes. Berlin, and Montreal festivals, received 
the Grand Prize at the United States Film Festival, 
garnered rave reviews in the trade papers, been 
advertised in Variety — and you still cannot find a 
distributor? When faced with this predicament, 
the makers of Heat and Sunlight. Rob Nilsson. 
Steve Burns, and Hildy Burns, decided to opt for 
self-distribution with the assistance of a new 
consulting firm. Silverlight Entertainment. 

Silverlight was formed last year by Mark 
Lipsky. a former vice president of Miramax. His 
intention was to help "fill the void that is becom- 
ing larger and larger" for independents who are 
not able to find a distributor. Silverlight. a one- 
man operation, is a consulting service rather than 
a distribution company. Explains Lipsky. "I'm 
offering self-distribution with a guiding hand. I 
give advice on every matter of distribution, from 
shipping prints, to what messenger to call, to 
advertising, publicity, and promotion." As Lipsky 
sees it. the services he offers are "as good as those 
of a distributor, but without the loss. The produc- 
ers maintain financial and creative control over 
everything. They are not bound to go along with 
anything I say." Unlike a distribution company, 
all rights remain with the producers. The expenses 
and sales revenues are theirs as well. As Steve 
Burns puts it, "Money is the difference. We're 
essentially operating out of our pockets." When 
working with Silverlight. the producer covers the 
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THE INDEPENDENT 7 



prints. The payoff in this arrangement in that it in 
the producer, not a distributor, who reaps the 
financial reward it the film is successful. Depend- 
ing on the film, Lipsky receives either a flat fee, a 
percentage, or a combination of both. But. be- 
cause of his low overhead, his percentages are tar 
less than the cuts distributors regular!) take. 

The producers of Heat and Sunlight met Lipsky 
at one of the screenings they had arranged tor dis- 
tributors m various cities. At the New York pre- 
view Lipsky introduced himself and ottered his 
services, and Heal ami Sunlight became Silver- 
light's first major distribution project. (The corn- 
pan) also acts as a producers representative and is 
mv olv ed in production. ) With Lipskv 's guidance. 
Heat and Sunlight obtained theatrical bookings in 
several key markets. It opened in last fall in San 
Francisco at the Kabuki Theatre with a seven 
week run. then played in Berkeley for five weeks 
and San Jose for three. This spring the film was 
booked in New York City at the Carnegie and 
Bleeker Street Theaters and in Santa Cruz at the 
Nickelodeon Theater. Says Burns. "Lipskv gives 
us adv ice on everything. He helped get the thea- 
ters for us. We worked on the ads together and he 
got our publicity agent for us." 

Though lacking the clout of a big name dis- 
tributor. Lipskv say s they managed to get the film 
into theaters "because we called them up and told 
them we had great reviews. The theaters took a 
leap and accepted us." The opening in San Fran- 
cisco also helped provide momentum: the film 
took in S9.000 its first weekend and went on to 
earn $45,000 to $50,000 over the seven-week run 
in a 230-seat theater. "Getting into theaters isn't 
difficult." says Lipsky . "Keeping them there is the 
problem." Know ing how to do this is one area in 
which Lipsky 's experience at Miramax pays off. 

When asked why distributors are shying away 
from innovative independent films. Lipsky re- 
sponds. "Distributors have to deal with big over- 
heads. They have forgotten how to do it on this 
lev el." Also, he say s, ev en the smallerdistributors 
are looking for more commercial films. "You 
know that the marketplace is changing w hen y ou 
see Cinecom doing Richard Dreyfuss movies." 

Formore information on Silverlight Entertain- 
ment, call (212) 722-8074. For information on 
Hear and Sunlight, call Snowball Productions at 
(415)567-4404. 

LORNA JOHNSON 

FILM FORUM'S 
DEMOLITION DEADLINE 

The Film Forum twin theater, a nonprofit show- 
case of L.S. independent and foreign films in 
downtown Manhattan, will be torn down within 
the next year in order to make way for a 20-story 
office tower. The theater's board and director are 
currently looking for a new home and are negoti- 
ating a financial settlement to help in the construc- 
tion of comparable facilities. 

Founded in 1970. Film Forum moved in 1981 



Film Forum, a down- 
town Manhattan 
duplex theater that 
shows independent 
and foreign films, will 
be torn down within 
the year to make 
way for a 20-story 
office tower. 



Courtesy Film Forun 




into its present space, a commercial garage on 
Watts Street, which was refurbished by architects 
Stephen Tilly and Alan Buchsbaum. The comfort- 
able, friendly quarters have been home to cine- 
astes draw n to Film Forum's innovative program- 
ming and have provided a professional setting for 
the theatrical premieres of countless independent 
productions. Since a premiere at Film Forum 
often nets a review in the New York Times. \ Wage 
I Dice, and other newspapers, the theater has played 
a central role in the theatrical launching of many 
independent features, including such films asBnrn 
in Flames. b\ Lizzie Borden. II ell 'ere So Beloved. 
by Manny Kirchheimer. Rale It X. by Lucy Winer 
and Paula de Koenigsberg. Las Madres: The 
Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, by Susan Munoz 
and Lourdes Portillo. and more recently Lodz 
Ghetto, by Kathry n Taverna and Alan Adelson. as 
well as Lightning over Braddock, by Tony Buba. 
In its foreign programming. Film Forum's selec- 
tions range from the revered to the obscure. The 
current spring calendar includes an extensive four- 
week Fassbinder retrospective, a series of Kuro- 
sawa's rarely seen works from the 1940s, and a 
series of new features from such countries as 
Taiwan (Hou Hsiao-hsien's Dust in the Wind). 
England (Derek Jarman's The Last of England), 
and the Soviet Lnion ( Yuri Illy enko's The Eve of 
Ivan Kapalo). 

Karen Cooper. Film Forum's director since 
1972. said news of the theater's planned demoli- 
tion came to her without warning. One day in 
December, she recalls, "when I arrived at work. I 
saw drilling rigs in the theater's parking lot check- 
ing for bedrock." A call to the landlord. Trinity 
Realty, an arm of the Parish of Trinity Church in 
New York, revealed that they had contracted w ith 
Minskoff Equities to develop the property. Al- 
though Film Forum signed a 21 -year lease in 
1980. it contained a demolition clause allowing 
Trinity to oust its tenant in exchange for S275.000 
if the theater was ever demolished. Minskoff 
Equities, rather than Trinity, w ill be covering this 
sum and will actively help Film Forum locate a 



new home. According to Cooper. Trinity Church 
has made no offer to assist Film Forum financially 
or otherwise. Film Forum has 12 months — until 
mid-February 1990 — to relocate. If the theater 
agrees to move out before that period is up. says 
Cooper. Minskoff would have to contribute 
"substantially more" in settlement dollars in re- 
turn. 

Cooper's search for new quarters is focused on 
downtown Manhattan, although she allows forthe 
possibility of a move elsewhere. The renovation 
of a leased space into a two-theater cinema ap- 
pears the most likely course, as opposed to either 
taking over an existing theater or purchasing 
property — both of which would be prohibitively 
expensive in New York's over-inflated real estate 
market. "But." adds Cooper. "I w ant a lease with- 
out a demolition clause." The estimated cost of 
renovating a space comparable to the current 
theater is SI -million. Once a new lease is ob- 
tained. Film Forum will initiate a major capital 
expenditure driv e. 

PATRICIA THOMSON 

STANDBY ON STANDBY 

On March 1 Ed Train, vice president of Megame- 
dia. the company that took over Matrix Video in 
Manhattan last August, announced to the as- 
sembled staff that the company was closing its 
doors, effective the next day. and fired the ap- 
proximately 40 employees of the facility. Luckily 
for the independent v ideomakers who had edited 
their tapes at Megamedia under the auspices of the 
nonprofit Standby program and therefore had 
masters stored at Megamedia. the Standby collec- 
tive had grown suspicious of Megamedia's inten- 
tions the previous week when they were notified 
that all the locks would be changed and the facility 
closed for the weekend, contrary to usual opera- 
tions. In two hours time late one night, the Standby 
crew and friends moved all the one-inch masters 
to the nearby offices of Prelinger Associates. 



8 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1989 



where these were stored until they had time to 
notify the producers of the whereabouts of their 
materials. 

Founded in 1983 by Rick Feist, who remains 
one of the directors of the program, and Alex 
Roshuk, then director of the nonprofit media 
center 185 Nassau, Standby was one of the first 
on-line artists' video editing access programs in 
the country. Feist was working at Matrix at the 
time and proposed a plan that would allow editing 
of noncommercial projects at greatly reduced 
rates. Access was offered at night and on week- 
ends, with the proviso that a session might be 
cancelled if a commercial client booked the time 
in the facility. Thus the name Standby. Matrix 
accepted the idea, and initially Feist worked as the 
editor for independent clients while Roshuk did 
the paperwork. Since then the staff of Standby has 
grown to 1 0, including six editors and several ad- 
ministrator/schedulers. 

In 1985 the Raindance Corporation assumed 
administrative responsibility for Standby, follow- 
ing a rift between Feist and Roshuk. Nevertheless, 
the structure of the program has remained intact. 
Of course, the rates have risen to reflect increased 
rates in the commercial sector. Originally an hour 
of editing time on three-quarter-inch equipment, 
assisted by an editor, cost S45; now the price is 
$60 for the same service, compared to $250 on the 
commercial scale. Standby charges $75 per hour 
for Betacam editing and SI 00 for one-inch. 

Many videomakers apply to the program be- 
cause they want to take advantage of the sophisti- 
cated computer editing and special effects avail- 
able at a postproduction house like Megamedia. 
Now that Megamedia has closed, Standby admin- 
istrator/fundraiser Kathryn High speculated that 
Standby "might want to branch out into several 
smaller facilities." But as this issue of The Inde- 
pendent went to press, the Standby group was 
waiting to find out the results of negotiations with 
what High identified as "a large Manhattan facil- 
ity." When asked to compare the Standby pro- 
gram to the On-Line program administered by the 
New York Media Alliance, which also negotiates 
editing time for independent videomakers who 
want to work at high-end video editing facilities. 
High explained. "Standby is a pool of editors who 
have worked at one facility . On-Line directs clients 
to one of several facilities, based on the nature of 
a given project. In fact, we get about 1 5 percent of 
our clients from On-Line." She added. "I don't 
want to compete with them for funding." referring 
to the sizable grants both programs receive from 
the New York State Council on the Arts and the 
National Endowment for the Arts. Last year Stand- 
by was awarded about $57,000 in government 
subsidies. 

The number of videomakers who have edited 
their tapes at Matrix/Megamedia under Standby is 
approximately 200, and they have completed about 
275 projects through the program. Many, High 
said, were New York artists, but a number came 
from elsewhere in the country and even from 
overseas. Although the highly successful project 



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is current!) searching for a home — or. perhaps. 
several — she is optimistic about the future: 
"Standby will come out of this upheaval much 
stronger and w ith a more thorough understanding 
of its direction. We look forward to ottering 
postproduction sen ices to the independent media 
community." 

MACARTHUR MEDIA 
FUNDING EXPANDS 

The John D. and Catherine T. Mac Arthur Founda- 
tion marked its third year as a major private funder 
of IS. independent media by awarding $1.7- 
million to media arts centers in 1988. The grants. 
gi\en to 53 nonprofit media organizations, total 
almost twice as much as the $9 1 2.500 awarded to 
46 organizations in 1987. 

In New York, the American Museum of the 
Moving Image received $50,000; AIVF/FIVF. 
$25,000; Asian CineVision, S 1 0,000; Black Film- 
maker Foundation. S 1 0.000: Downtown Commu- 
nity Television Center. S 1 00.000: Electronic Arts 
Intermix. S25.000: Film Forum. S50.000: Film/ 
Video Arts. SI 00.000: Global Village Video 
Resource Center. S25.000: Media Alliance. 
SI 0.000: Museum of Modem Art. S50.000: 
Whitney Museum of American Art. $25,000; and 
Visual Studies Workshop. S25.000. 

In California. Pacific Film Archive w as aw arded 
S50.000: Filmforum. SI 0.000: Long Beach Mu- 
seum of An Foundation. S25.000: American Film 
Institute. S25.000: UCLA Film and Television 
Archive. SI 00.000: Visual Communications/ 
Asian American Studies Central. S25.000: Bay 
Area Video Coalition. S25.OO0: Cine Accion. 
SI 0.000: Film Arts Foundation. S25.000: and 
Foundation for Art in Cinema. S 10.000. 

In Illinois, the Center for New Television was 
granted S 1 00.000: Chicago Filmmakers. S25.000: 
Community Film Workshop of Chicago. S 1 0.000: 
Facets Multimedia. S50.000: and School of the 
Art Institute of Chicago Film Center. S25.000. 

Grants to media arts centers in other states were 
as follows: Rocky Mountain Film Center (CO). 



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SKK).(KK): Black Film Institute (DC). $10,000: 
National Learning Center (DC). $50,000: IM- 
AGE Film/Video Center (GA). $10,000: Appal- 
shop (KY). $50,000: New Orleans Video Access 
Center. S 1 0.000: Boston Film/Video Foundation, 
$50,000: Institute of Contemporary Art (MA), 
S 1 0.000: Intermedia Arts of Minnesota. S50.000; 
Film in the Cities | \1N i. S50.000: University Film 
Society/Minnesota Film Center, $25,000; Walker 
Art Center (MN). SI 0.000: Helena Film Society 
(MTi. S25.000; Sheldon Film Theater (Univer- 
sity of Nebraska-Lincoln). $10,000: Center for 
Contemporary Arts of Santa Fe. $25,000; Athens 
Center for Film and Video (OH). SI 0.000: Media 
Project (OR ). S 1 0.000: Northwest Film and Video 
Project (OR ). S25.000: Neighborhood Film/Video 
Project (PA). S25.000: Carnegie Museum of Art 
(PA). S10.000: Pittsburgh Filmmakers. S50.000: 
South Carolina ArtsCommission. SI 0.000: South- 
w est Alternate Media Project (TX). S50.000: Utah 
Media Arts Center. SI 0.000: and 91 1 Contempo- 
rary Arts Center (WA). $10,000. 

The grants are intended to assist the production 
and distribution of new and innovative indepen- 
dent film and video work by allow ing media arts 
centers to broaden their funding bases. "We're 
seeing media arts centers develop from struggling 
experiments to permanent institutions that en- 
hance the diversity of opinion heard in the media 
and provide the public with a richer and more 
stimulating media experience." said MacArthur 
Foundation director William T. Kirby. 

The MacArthur Foundation also aw arded $1.2- 
million to six organizations as part of a new media 
program to increase public awareness of global 
environmental issues. The grant recipients in- 
clude five projects about tropical rainforest defor- 
estation and strategies for preservation. PTV 
Productions of New York City received S300.000 
tow ards the production of a one-hour documen- 
tary entitled Tropical Forests: A \ ital Source, by 
Robert Richter. The Center for New Television in 
Chicago received S75.000 for Vic Banks' multi- 
media profile of the Pantanal Wilderness in Bra- 
zil. Biosphere Films in New York received a 
$35,000 grant for the completion of Conservation 
of the Southern Rainforest, by Douglas Freilich 
and Julie Sperling, as did the Missouri Botanical 
Garden for Tropical Biology, to be produced by 
Karen Rogers and directed by Robin T. Rutledge. 
The St. Louis Ambassadors Arts and Fountains 
Foundation also received funds from the founda- 
tion w ithin this category 

The MacArthur Foundation also gave a three- 
year. SI .2-million grant to P.O.\ '.. the indepen- 
dent documentary series that premiered in July 
1988 on public television. Additional media proj- 
ects funded by MacArthur include The Indepen- 
dents, a series featuring the work of independent 
producers on the Learning Channel and the Public 
Broadcasting Sen ice. The Conversations of De- 
mocracy, a PBS series hosted by Bill Movers, and 
a program through which public libraries have 
access to public telex ision series. 

KELLY ANDERSON 



10 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1989 



STEPHEN C. NING: 
1950-1989 

It seemed only a short time ago that a motley 
caravan from New York — Columbia and New 
York University film school alumni. Third World 
Newsreelers, and Chinatown activists — donned 
suits and skirts for Steve Ning and Yuet Fung 
Ho's wedding in Boston's Chinatown. There, the 
couple's adopted circle of friends boogied with 
the Ning-Wong clan, first family of Cambridge's 
Chinese community. The groom's hair was about 
a foot longer than the bride's and, true to form, 
Steve waited until after the wedding to get a 
haircut, making sure that Yuet and filmmaker 
Chris Choy would be on hand at the barbershop to 
shoot the scene. 

Steve's quiet humor and imagination, his sense 
of mischief, and the ability to make us all feel a 
part of that extended family will be sorely missed. 
Last March, many of us returned to Boston on the 
sad journey to mourn Steve's death. He leaves 
behind his wife Yuet, a two-and-a-half-year-old 
son, and a circle of family, friends, and coworkers 
that extends across the country. 

Like his father George, Steve was a storyteller. 
He took equal pleasure in regaling son Dain Ning 
(he first planned to name the baby Light) with 
concocted stories illustrated by a Mickey Mouse 
viewmaster and in shaping his scripts that trans- 
formed the Asian American experience into fan- 
tastic tales which might in one sweep combine 
traditional Chinese literature with the sensibilities 
of a rock V roll generation. Born to a Chinese 
American mother and an immigrant father who 
once ran a Chinatown movie theater, Steve's 
ideas were informed by his community's history 
and inspired by his family. At the time of his 
death, he was working on preproduction for Spirit 
of the Laundry, an impressionistic saga about the 
fictional Gees. His script features a grandma who 



Stephen Ning and his son Dain. 

Photo: Nina Kuo 




loves big time wrestling. Sister's a labor organ- 
izer-entomologist, and Dad's laundry is haunted 
by ghostly visions of the first Gee, one of many 
Chinese laborers imported to Massachusetts in 
the 1 860s to break a strike by shoe factory work- 
ers. There are no Fu Manchus in Steve's stories. 
On the activist front, Steve and Yuet have been 
an ever-present force in the family of Asian 
American media activists around the country. 
Born to working-class parents, they defied con- 
vention and were among the only Asian students 
at NYU and Columbia film schools. Together, 
they produced Steve's film, the poignant, comic 
Freckled Rice, a semi-autobiographical story of a 
boy coming to terms with his Chinese American 



identity during the Kennedy years. More recently, 
he developed scripts and, to pay the rent, crewed 
for Robert Altman and NYU classmate Spike Lee, 
as well as working on music videos and indepen- 
dent films — always with Dain's picture propped 
on the sound cart. Steve's premature death at the 
age of 38 is a great loss for those of us who 
marched with him, danced at his wedding, and 
waited eagerly to see his name again on the big 
screen. 

RENEETAJIMA 
A trust fund has been established far Dain Ning. 
Contributions can be sent to the Stephen C. Ning 
Memorial Fund. 107 Oxford St. . Cambridge. MA 
02138. 



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FIELD REPORT 



SCHOOL DAYS: THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF 
MEDIA ARTS CENTERS CONFERENCE 



Martha Gever 



In w hat has become a tradition, the nonprofit film 
and \ ideo clan gathered in Rochester. New York, 
in mid-March for the annual conference of the 
National Alliance of Media Arts Centers. Inclem- 
ent weather — an ice storm, repeated snow storms, 
and the damp, cold grev ness that is know n in such 
parts as the "lake effect" — perhaps enhanced the 
appeal of the length) panel discussions and meet- 
ings of the organization's various working groups 
that took place at the Visual Studies Workshop 
over four days. The conference was attended by 
media center personnel from around the country, 
as well as others drawn by the event's theme: 
media and education. 

An informal survey of participants, conducted 
as the meeting drew to a close, elicited evaluations 
of the event that were decidedly contradictory. 
Main people whom I polled deemed the confer- 
ence particularly successful since it was attended 
by a number of people representing organizations 
and activities not usually found at NAMAC 
events — teachers and media professionals who 
w ork w ith elementary and secondary students, for 
instance. But just as many thought that the topic of 
media education w as too narrow to attract NAMAC 
members whose primary work is only indirectly 
linked to education — e.g.. exhibitors or distribu- 
tors. Ever since NAMAC's decision three and a 
half\ ears ago to structure their annual conference 
around a specific area of activity — last year's 
theme was exhibition — the tension between spe- 
cialization and broader interests has been appar- 
ent. To some degree, the roster of attendees this 
year reflected this problem, since representativ es 
of several high-profile media arts organizations 
were notably absent. 

How ever, as VSW executive director and con- 
ference coordinator Nathan Lyons pointed out. 
the 1 90 or so registrants for the 1 989 meeting w as 
slightly larger than the attendance at the organ- 
ization's past few conferences. Those w ith no im- 
mediate interest in the topic of media education 
used the opportunity to conduct business and 
compare notes with media center colleagues. 
Conference participants w ere also treated to a tour 
of the newly constructed offices, research facili- 
ties, and storage vaults of the International Mu- 
seum of Photograph) /George Eastman House film 
collection — one of the larsest archives in the 



world — as well as an evening program highlight- 
ing IMP/GEH's film preservation efforts, hosted 
by the museum's film curator. Jan-Christopher 
Horak. And those w ho preferred to w atch contem- 
porary tapes and films instead of listening to panel 
discussions could drop in on screenings of the 
second annual National Student Film and Video 
Festival, programmed by VSW to coincide with 
the conference. 

One panel discussion that received uniformly 
good notices from conferees dealt with "Video 
Distribution: Opportunity for Independent Pro- 
ducers?" The question mark in the title proved 
especially appropriate, given the tenor of the 
panelists' remarks. Forexample. Linda Gibson, a 
video artist who works as director of media pro- 
duction and distribution at Middlesex County 
College in New Jersey, offered the assembled 
audience a detailed description of the labyrinth of 
film/video purchasing policies at upper level 
educational institutions. After explaining the 
env ironment as one in w hich textbook publishers 
are becoming videocassette producers and the 
PBS logo functions as a consumer seal of ap- 
proval. Gibson listed various tactics that nonprofit 
distributors and media centers can employ to 
overcome the ignorance and inertia of faculty 
members who might buy or rent the films and 
tapes they handle. Among these were holding pre- 
view screenings for faculty, cosponsoring screen- 
ings with campus groups, and including media 
acquisitions professionals on the organization's 
board of directors. 

Similarly. Margaret Cooper, a member of the 
New Day distribution collective, recited a raft of 
statistics concerning the proliferation of small 
format video in elementary and secondary school 
libraries. To emphasize the importance of this 
dev elopment. she pointed out. "Virtually all media 
used in schools — 80.000 public schools with 45 
million students and one million teachers — is 
VHS." But. she added, "the role of independently 
produced media in the schools is dismal at best." 
In order to affect this situation she counselled 
distributors of independent films and tapes to 
educate teachers. 1 ibrarians. and other responsible 
for media purchases and rentals about work re- 
lated to new and emerging curricula; global issues 
like North-South relations, multicultural studies, 
and AIDS were several topics on her list. 

In addition to providing lively, informative 
presentations, this panel sparked some debate. In 
the context of a discussion about library policies 



and prospects for promoting independent work in 
that arena. Virgil Grillo. director of the Rocky 
Mountain Film Center, mentioned the Video 
Classics project initiated by the MacArthur Foun- 
dation last year. MacArthur has underwritten some 
of the costs of duplicating and distributing a 
collection of 200 hours of programs that have 
aired on the Public Broadcasting Service. So far, 
2.200 libraries have received the S7.000 package, 
although Mac Arthur underwrote the cost for more 
than half of the participating institutions. All of 
these libraries are now eligible to receive an addi- 
tional 23 tapes, the MacArthur Library, for free. 
Two-thirds of the tapes in that group. Grillo said, 
are independently-produced works. Several panel 
members voiced criticism of the project, how- 
ever. Gibson questioned the effect of the series 
which, in one case she knew about, consumed half 
of a library system's media acquisition budget for 
an entire year. Panel moderator Larry Daressa of 
California Newsreel recalled a discussion with a 
librarian w ho told him that, rather than purchasing 
a tape from his organization, the library was 
waiting "to obtain the free tapes from MacArthur." 
An unofficial theme at the conference was the 
reorganization of the National Coalition of Inde- 
pendent Public Broadcasting Producers and its 
role in the institution of the Independent Produc- 
tion Service mandated by Congress in the Public 
Telecommunications Act of 1988 ( for a report on 
developments in that arena,.see "Media Clips." p. 
4). The introductory plenary session on Sunday 
morning was devoted to these matters, which 
were outlined for conference participants by Julie 
Mackaman from the Film Arts Foundation, Na- 
tional Coalition co-chairs Larry Daressa and 
Association of Independent Video and Fi lmmakers 
executive director Lawrence Sapadin. Bay Area 
Video Center executive director David Bolt, and 
Larry Hall, who has coordinated the National 
Coalition's legislative strategies for the past two 
years. Bolt later presided over a meeting of con- 
stituents of the National Coalition, followed by a 
meeting of the NAMAC adv ocacy working group, 
which together occupied much of Monday after- 
noon. During the latter portion of the session, the 
working group discussed and ratified a proposed 
resolution that reaffirmed NAMAC's support of 
the Coalition in its current negotiations with the 
Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The closing 
membership meeting on Tuesday morning unani- 
mously recommended that the NAMAC board of 
directors endorse the resolution. 



12 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1989 



Much of the business conducted by NAMAC's 
Third World Caucus at the annual meeting like- 
wise concerned the Independent Production Serv- 
ice and related public television funding, specifi- 
cally the S3.8-million designated for minority 
programming in the legislative language that 
accompanied the act. The caucus met several 
times during the conference, and at the Monday 
afternoon session Eduardo Garcia of New Liberty 
Productions and Margaret Caples of the Commu- 
nity Film Workshop presented National Coalition 
representatives with a position paper that urged 
the inclusion of Latinos, Asian Americans, Afri- 
can Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native 
Americans at all levels of development and im- 
plementation of the new service. In addition, they 
recommended that the IPS "determine [its] rela- 
tionship with existing CPB-designated minority 
consortia." Later, at the NAMAC membership 
meeting, Luz Castillo from Cine Accion reported 
on other topics addressed by the Third World 
Caucus. Stating that the inclusion of Third World 
issues and communities within various confer- 
ence panels was commendable, she conveyed the 
caucus' recommendation that future conferences 
include panels that specifically address race and 
communities of color. 

The final session also provided NAMAC board 
members, spokespeople for groups, and individu- 
als an opportunity to make announcements and 
voice recommendations for future activities. In 
addition to organization business, such as a notice 
of a new corporate membership category (with 
annual dues of $1,000), several comments and 
suggestions for future action came from the floor. 
Dee Davis from Appalshop argued for greater 
involvement for the membership in issues of public 
policy relevant to independent media, citing the 
funding practices and levels of NEA Media Pro- 
gram as a topic that might benefit from scrutiny by 
NAMAC members. And in the closing moments 
of the conference, the theme of education reemer- 
ged when Kim Crabb from Kids Make Movies 
and New York independent producer Dav id Lasday 
announced the formation of a new organization: 
the National Youth Media Alliance, formed '"to 
establish a national network to develop and advo- 
cate the integration of media by and for youth in 
the classroom and alternative sites for learning." 

A consortium of Boston media organizations 
has promised to host the 1990 NAMAC confer- 
ence, which has been slated to highlight produc- 
tion. However, the suggestion to change the topic 
to advocacy circulated at the Rochester event — 
due to the interest evident at this year's confer- 
ence. Then someone at the membership meeting 
noted that 1990 will mark NAMAC's tenth anni- 
versary and suggested that "the future" might be 
an appropriate theme. If the financial crisis facing 
the Massachusetts Arts Council, detailed in this 
month's "Media Clips" column, represents a trend 
for public funding agencies, a discussion of all 
three topics may be in order. 



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RAMIN NIAMI, Director, Producer, Editor. 



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STEVEN MALKUS, Program Director, Non- 
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Monday through Friday, June 19-23 
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SPORTS VIDEO AND FILM 

Monday through Friday, June 12-16 
Behind-the-scenes insight and expertise 
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videos and broadcasts. 
TONY CEGLIO, Director of Film Production, 
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MAY 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 13 



LEGAL BRIEFS 



STATES RIGHTS: 

HUMANITIES COUNCILS CONTRACTS 




Renee Tajima 



Nothing comes free, as independent filmmaker 
Kathe Sandler realized last August w hen awarded 
a $2,000 grant from the Alabama Humanities 
Foundation for her project A Question of Color. 
Language in the grant contract required "submis- 
sion of 3 copies of the film for educational use 
(non-broadcast)." When Sandler questioned the 
meaning of this ambiguous clause, she was told 
that the 'foundation wanted nonexclusive rental 
distribution rights w ithin the state of Alabama in 
exchange for her grant. Sandler's experience un- 
derscores the importance of reading the fine print 
on w hat manv producers regard as pro forma legal 
agreements with government funding agencies. 
The AHF is not the only state humanities coun- 
cil that requires copies of funded projects for its 
own use. According to Marjorie Berlincourt. di- 
rector of the Division of State Humanities Pro- 
grams at the National Endowment for the Arts, 
federal policy requires that funded projects be 
made available for public humanities programs. 
However, specific interpretations and guidelines 
of this policv \ an. from state to state and are de- 
termined bv each council's board of directors. 



Three contracts I read — from the California Coun- 
cil for the Humanities (CCH). the Humanities 
Foundation of West Virginia, and my own con- 
tract w ith the New York Council on the Humani- 
ties iNYCH) — used similar language that reserved 
nonexclusive license, without payment, for the 
state council and United States Government to use 
and reproduce products of the grant, including 
copyrighted material, for noncommercial pur- 
poses. Each required the filmmaker to deposit one 
or more copies of the project with the council 
upon its completion. 

Strictly read, these requirements may mean 
competitive distribution and price undercutting 
b) state humanities councils in the bread and 
butter educational market. In regional markets 
w ith high lev els of activity, like California or New 
York, such a scenario could pose serious prob- 
lems for independents who receive grants. But 
many states confine their exercise of these rights 
to archival use. NYCH requests a copy for its free, 
in-house \ ideo view ing library, which is open to 
the public. They also sponsor and package a 
touring program, the Films in the Humanities, in 
which selected documentary filmmakers — all 
funded by the council — participate voluntarily 
and receive income. Producers travel w ith their 
films to nonprofit cultural institutions around the 



A photograph of newly freed 
slaves, from Kathe Sandler's A 
Question of Color. She received a 
grant for the film from the Alabama 
Humanities Foundation— but with a 
few strings attached. 

Courtesy Schomberg Center for Research in 
Black Culture. New York Public Library 



state and are paid a flat fee of S250 per appearance. 
According to Caitlin Croughan. the associate 
director of CCH. producers funded in California 
are required to make their films and tapes rea- 
sonably available to the council on a "good faith 
and cooperative arrangement." But. she points 
out. the CCH is not in the business of distributing 
media and does not operate a resource center, as 
do other states. 

The Alabama Humanities Foundation require- 
ments go much further. Through its Discovery! 
program, media projects funded by the council are 
made available to nonprofit organizations and 
institutions in Alabama for a rental fee of S 10 to 
S40. The program has its own catalogue and is 
publicized throughout the state. It is aimed at 
venues "without access to academic and cultural 
resources." Sandler was concerned that her over- 
all distribution efforts could be jeopardized, given 
distributors' penchant forexclusive contracts, and 
that AHF's requirements were far out of line with 
the size of the grant in relation to the project 
budget. She spent several months attempting to 
renegotiate the terms of the contract w ith AHF. 
enlisting the support of the New York Foundation 
for the Arts and the Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers, among others. But the 
AHF refused to budge, stating that the contract 
was nonnegotiable. 

Ultimately, Sandler decided to accept AHF's 
terms, after being assured by distributors that the 
Discover! usage would have little impact, given 
the sparse distribution activity in Alabama. Robert 
Stewart, executive director of AHF. asserts that 
the lack of distribution activity is the very reason 
for Discover! Says Stew art. "For rural states, the 
distribution network is so poor, this is a way to 
reach grassroots groups and stimulate program- 
ming." But AHF's failure to make clear the spe- 
cific conditions of the grant up front may have 
obscured its good intentions. And it behooves 
producers to pay attention to the terms of their 
grant agreements, how ever routine thev mav seem, 
in order to make an informed decision, as Sandler 
did. 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1989 



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MAY 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 15 



INNOCENTS ABROAD 

JOY PERETHS TALKS ABOUT FOREIGN MARKETS 



Renee Tajima and Patricia Thomson 



films. I also try to figure out what the ancillary value of a film may be 
overseas, which helps to gauge theatrical value. 



Jo\ Pereths has been active in film distribution since 1969. For the past four 
years she has worked at the International Film Exchange (IFEX), where she 
is senior vice president of international sales and acquisitions. Pereths 
handles the marketing and licensing of films on a territory-by-territory 
basis, and also is in charge of acquiring films. Her position entails frequent 
trips to film festivals and markets, a constant watch on the field through the 
trade papers, and steady contact with producers and distributors. 

IFEX distributes films and television programming to markets in this 
country and abroad, and handles work from a variety of countries. For more 
than 25 years. IFEX has worked with the Soviet Union's film bureau. 
Sovexportfilm. and distributes such feature films as 
Commissar and Little Vera. A new IFEX project is the 
representation of the Koliba Film Studios of Czechoslo- 
vakia. The company also holds an annual IFEX East/West 
Film Market, which this year follows on the heels of the 
American Film Market in California. 

IFEX also represents work from the United States, 
Australia. Europe, and Britain. The company currently 
handles over 30 British features from Film Four Interna- 
tional. Channel Four's film production division, including 
My Beautiful Laundrette and Wish You Were Here. IFEX 
licenses worldwide rights for the Public Broadcasting 
Service series American Playhouse and also a small 
selection of independent documentaries, such as Best Box 
and The Houses Are Full of Smoke. 

Prior, to her work with IFEX. Pereths cofounded Affinity 
Enterprises in 1 980. a company specializing in international 
film sales, which represents films by such directors as 
John Sayles. Susan Seidelman. Stephen Frears. and Mike 
Leigh. In 1979. she was one of the founders of the 
Independent Feature Project Market, the first event in the 
United States designed specifically for the marketing of U.S. independent 
films. 

This interview took place on February 9, 1989. in Pereth's office in New 
York City. Pereths spoke with Renee Tajima, associate editor of The In- 
dependent, who also coproduced and codirected Who Killed \ intent Chin?. 
and The Independent's managing editor Patricia Thomson. 

□ □ □ 

Renee Tajima: How do you make a determination about what to represent? 

By gut feelings? 

Joy Pereths: Through experience, instinct, comparison with similar recent 



Joy Pereths, senior vice presi- 
dent of international sales and 
acquisitions at International 
Film Exchange. 



Patricia Thomson: On the panel at FIVF's seminar on film festivals in 
1987, you said you'd worked with shorts and documentaries for about 10 
years, then five to seven years ago made a transition to feature films because 
that's where the market was going. Has that trend continued in the past five 
years — that there's greater difficulty in finding foreign markets for shorts 
and documentaries? 

JP: To be accurate — I still work with some theatrical documentaries like 
Atomic Cafe and Koyaanisqatsi, which are exceptions to the rule. They're 
hip, with pop value, and can do very well overseas. 



PT: I've heard that some filmmakers might be wise to 
just skip trying to get overseas theatrical distribution and 
go straight to television, because there's no way to make 
any money on it. 

JP: The same can be said in this country. The rules of 
thumb are the same here as anywhere else. One difference 
is that certain independent films that are acceptable 
here — because they are parochial — won't travel overseas 
because there's no cultural connection. Another factor 
may be that there's not a well-defined theatrical market 
for small films in certain countries. In Korea or Taiwan, 
say, they don't want to see cutting-edge, small U.S. 
independent films. They might invite them to the Hong 
Kong Film Festival, but they don't have a well-established 
commercial art market. 

PT: \ ariety recently reported that theatrical sales overseas 
were up by 22 percent for the major studios in 1988. 
However, distributors of independent films were having 
a tough time last year and theatrical sales slumped. Is it 
a long-term trend? 




JP: I don't think so. There's really no definite pattern to the overseas 
theatrical success of independent movies — unless you're talking about 
genre, horror, low-budget independent American stuff abroad, which is 
harder to see theatrically today than a year ago — with exceptions like the 
Nightmare on Elm Street movies. If you mean the sort of quality, cutting- 
edge independent films released theatrically overseas, it's always been hit 
or miss. You can't predict how they will do abroad, just as you can't predict 
how they will do here. 

RT: How do you determine what's likely to be successful overseas? By 
festival response? By how they do here in the U.S.? 



16 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1989 




JP: In the independent low-budget sector, festivals can be an indication. But 
they're no more than an indication. A film that has a terrific buzz in Cannes 
may or may not succeed at the box office in a different territory. Because 
each country has a distinct audience with distinct film-going habits. 

D □ □ 



Little Vera, by Soviet director Vasily Pichul, startled 
audiences in the USSR with its depiction of sex, drugs, 
holliganism, and rock 'n' roll. Like the large majority of 
Soviet feature films seen in this country, Little Vera is 
distributed by IFEX. 

Courtesy IFEX 



they pay very little. Unless you have a great volume to sell, it's not worth 
it, in my opinion. If you are selling many programs or films, I'm sure it is. 
as a long-term investment. 

RT: What about Hong Kong or Taiwan? 

JP: Last year Taiwan's buying power increased dramatically, but they're 
looking for action films for video. 

PT: I've heard that Hong Kong only has two art cinemas. 

RT: Then the only real money markets would be Western Europe or Japan? 

JP: Are we talking about TV or feature films for theatrical distribution? 
Theatrically, Australia is a good market also, but television is tough for all 
but big theatrical successes — except for SBS, the network for specialized 
and foreign language programming. They pay relatively little, though. 



PT: Who's buying U.S. independent work right now? Where are there 
markets that might not have existed a couple of years ago? 

JP: The Far East and Japan have become a much more important markets 
for independent American products, quite astonishingly so. 

RT: TV? 

JP: No, not TV. Home video and theatrical. In my experience it's very 
difficult to sell independently-produced U.S. programs to Japanese television. 

RT: Why is that? 

JP: Culturally, they're traditionally inward looking. At least that's true for 
television, which is still state-run. They're much more open to theatrical and 
video sales. It's very interesting. This may have to do with the vertical 
integration of some of the big corporations who have a lot of money to spend 
on marketing and have diversified their business operations. For example, 
huge companies may manufacture not only the video hardware but they may 
also own shopping malls, publish magazines, and own advertising agencies. 
So they look for ways to cross-fertilize their profits. Sometimes they 
promote video through sophisticated, beautifully produced fan magazines 
devoted to video. They frequently do brilliant, high-profile marketing that 
actually enhances a secondary theatrical release. 

PT: In Japan Hollywood films are very popular. Are independent films? 

JP: Yes, but mostly among very young audiences in a few major cities. Of 
course, there have been tremendous successes, relatively speaking — films 
like Smithereens and Jim Jarmusch's work. I've sold a lot of U.S. independent 
films over the last few years to Japan. The young people in Japan are very 
hip, and they love New York. They're crazy for it. So Japan is an important 
market. 

PT: What about China. Hong Kong, Taiwan? 

JP: China is buy ing a lot of material, but not half-hour political documentaries, 
as one might expect. They're buying programs from the major networks. 
They're buying commercial stuff; they buy Disney; they buy westerns. And 



RT: How about Canada? 

JP: Canada is an interesting market theatrically. As for television, they give 
priority to Canadian programming and for Quebec television you have to 
have dubbed versions. 

RT: Do you have to deliver French dubs? 

JP: Yes, if you want to sell to Radio Quebec. They do not pay for the dub. 
They have their own pay cable television, which is a healthy market. But it's 
very difficult to sell directly to television. You really need to sell all the 
rights to a Canadian distributor, and the Canadian distributor will make 
those sales. 

RT: How about theatrical sales in Canada? 

JP: I consider Canada to be an excellent market. Demographically, it's 
much smaller than the United States, but it's a steady market. I nearly always 
sell separately to Canada. Many, many U.S. producers, or rather their U.S. 
distributors, say, "We'll buy domestic rights from you," and they include 
Canada. 

PT: In general, television has been one of the more fruitful markets for U.S. 
independents abroad. What do you think the changes in European broad- 
casting might mean for independent producers — the increase of privately- 
owned stations, some state-supported stations also going into private hands 
and, of course, all the satellite channels that are starting up? 

JP: The signs are very mixed. On one hand, the deregulation of the 
broadcasting industry throughout Europe, leading to a plethora of pay- 
television or satellite-delivered advertising-supported programming entities, 
seems to be an opportunity for strictly mainstream American programming. 
On the other hand, entities like Channel Four and the BBC will continue to 
acquire independent product of note. I doubt Channel Four's programming 
mandate will shift that much. Although it may shift somewhat and they may 
have more sports or more mini-series, they will — they must — continue. 
That is their raison d'etre, and they have developed an audience. 

□ □ □ 



MAY 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 17 



American Playhouse programs are among the 

many U.S. productions sold abroad by IFEX. 

Here, Meredith Baxter Birney and David Birney 

star in Mark Twain's short story, The Diaries 

of Adam and Eve. 

Courtesy American Playnouse 



PI: What about the Soviet I nion? At the Leningrad International Non- 
Feature Film Festival and at the American Film Market last year some 
So\ let film officials said that the) re interested in I .S. documentaries. Have 
you seen any evidence of this? 

JP: Frankly, I haven't. There is interest, but the) "re overwhelmed, due to 
the opening up of relations w ith other countries. We will have to wait and 
let things settle first. 

PT: There are some I .S./So\ iet coproductions in the works, however. Are 
coproductions an avenue worth exploring by smaller independents.' 

JP: I think this is a great area of oppportunity. but you must remember that 
the project must be significantly interesting to the coproducer. You can't 
impose an extreme!) parochial American idea and expect a foreign entity to 
cofinance it. Unless there's a very strong reason. 

PT: Let's sa) someone is interested in doing a coproduction. They have a 
subject like acid rain in the United States and in Europe. How would they 
go about finding coproducers in Europe? Would they take a script to the 
markets or festivals. ' 

JP: That's one was. It can be difficult to get access to people at markets 
because they're inundated by everyone in the world trying to talk to them. 
However, you might be lucky and meet them informally. But the obvious 
w ay is to find out w ho the proper person w ithin an organization is and write 
to them. As with other projects, it helps if you have a connection who can 
oil the wheels for you. Of course, it can be very helpful to work through an 
intermediary whose job is setting up coproductions. 

RT: Who would that be? 

JP: A producer's representative. You would have to shop around and find 
the most appropriate producer's representative who works with films or 
programs that are similar to yours. 

RT: Somebody based here or in Europe? 

JP: It's easier to work w ith somebody who is based where you are. but there 
are arguments for and against that. 

PT: Are there directories that have listings of these people? 

JP: I don't think so. Like everything else, you network, talk to people, and 
find out who's doing what. For theatrical films, there's the American Film 
Marketing Association. There's a directory of those people. All of them, 
including ourselves [at IFEX]. are involved in setting up co-financing for 
theatrical movies. When it comes to television. MIP. MIPCOM and the 
Monte Carlo TV markets all have lists of registered TV buyers and 
coproduction executives. 

RT: Would a producer's rep represent you exclusively ? How w ould they be 
paid? 

JP: There are many ways of working. One way is a commission, based on 
what's raised. Another way — depending on how many projects you're 
working on and if you have a very close relationship — is working on a 

retainer basis. 




RT: As executive producers? 

JP: Yes. But it depends on the individual project. 

RT: Would they ask for distribution rights? 
JP: They may well do that. 

PT: Are these individuals often the same people who act as foreign sales 
agents? 

JP: Very often. The terms are almost the same. That's because the foreign 
sales agent and the producer's representative have relationships built over 
many, many years. They know who's doing what to whom, and they have 
a kind of shorthand between the broadcasters, theatrical distributors, and so 
on. and themselves. They're on close terms. They socialize... all that. 

PT: One of the most common questions asked the FIVF Festival Bureau 
comes from filmmakers deliberating whether it's worth going to the major 
markets — Cannes. Berlin. MIPCOM. Monte Carlo, and so on. What is your 
response? 

JP: I think it's inappropriate for independent documentary or short film 
producers to go to a market like MIPCOM or the American Film Market. At 
these markets there's nothing but business — hard. fast, chunky business. 
This is not art: there are no critics: there's no opportunity to mix and meet 
with other filmmakers from around the world or journalists who can 
influence the outcome of your being there. And there's usually very little 
opportunity or time to have a serious discussion w ith a buyer, because they 
are there to screen one film after another. They have appointments set up 
w ith the sellers with w horn they have long-standing relationships. These are 
short, sharp markets of four or five days. They have no time to spare. On the 
other hand, it's fine to go purely as an educational experience to observe 
how such markets work and how professional distributors operate. 

For a filmmaker who has the opportunity to go to Berlin or Rotterdam — 
let's set Cannes aside for a moment — it's a wonderful experience to go to 
festivals and meet other filmmakers and film journalists, to no longer be 
isolated in one culture but really receive new ideas from others. That's very 
important. But these are not places for filmmakers to sell their films directly, 
unless the film is so "difficult" that a foreign sales agent is not going to be 
interested. Or. if you've pre-sold to Channel Four or ZDF and there's little 
motivation for a foreign sales agent to get involved, you may be able to pick 
up sales for a few thousand dollars w ith one or two other European TV 
stations. If that's the case, you should probably try to make those deals 
yourself. You'll have to take v cry seriously the commitment that is required 
to sen ice those deals. If. on the other hand, those very key />/r-sales have 
already been made through a producer's representative, he or she will 
continue and finish off the other follow-up sales and service them. 



18 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1989 



Cannes is something else. The only sane reason for a filmmaker to go to 
Cannes is if they have a narrative feature officially invited to the Competition, 
the Director's Fortnight, or one of the other official sections. Then they must 
be there, because they are officially required to attend in order to promote 
their film. If you are a feature filmmaker who is beginning to go past the very 
low-budget mark, and are looking for a deal for a million or two or three or 
four or five, and if you know your way around the block, and you're there 
with your foreign sales agent, the two of you can maybe cut a deal with a 
foreign financing source or foreign distributor. Cannes is a zoo to the 
uninitiated. You don't go there with a 16mm film under your arm. That is 
an absolute disaster. 

PT: Are markets and festivals good places to hook up with foreign sales 
agents? 

JP: Very often, when going abroad to a festival or market, a filmmaker's 
goal might be, "I'm not going there to make these sales myself but rather, 
"I'm going to find a sales agent." This is making the assumption that your 
film is saleable, the territories are available, the rights are available, so that 
a good foreign sales agent would be motivated to sell it. Then, the goal is to 
find that foreign sales agent as well as meeting other foreign filmmakers, 
journalists, and so on. 

RT: We've been approached by so many kinds of people for Vincent Chin. 
There are a lot of very commercial types of reps. 

JP: You have to be very careful, because there are some sales agencies or 
foreign distribution companies who just seem to want to grab anything in 
order to enlarge their catalogue. At times, their choices make no sense, 
because the films they express interest in do not resemble a product that they 
know and work with. You need to be very careful, do your homework, get 
references, and ask, "Who are these people? What kind of films have they 
distributed before? What are they like? Do you know them? What's their 
reputation?" 

□ □ □ 

RT: Would you say most foreign sales agents have connections with all the 
different markets, or do they specialize in particular countries? 

JP: All of the above. In television, you have to really know the whole world 
because the world is a small place. The competition for product is acute, and 
the marketplace can be difficult. They would only diminish their potential 
for revenue and profit if they said, "We only handle three territories." But 
there are not many companies that specialize in both theatrical worldwide 
film sales and television. The two are more often exclusive. Some people 
do both. I do both. 

RT: Even with specialty films? 

JP: Specialty narrative films are another story. I invariably sell narrative 
independent movies both to overseas television and theatrical. But if you're 
talking about documentary television programming — a product that has no 
theatrical sales potential — very few people do that in addition to handling 
independent feature film sales. 

RT: When you sell theatrically, are you selling directly to the exhibitor? 
JP: No. You license theatrical rights to a distributor. 

RT: And why would a producer go through you rather than go directly to 
a European distributor? 

JP: Films are sold country by country. It's enormously complicated, 
specialized, and labor-intensive. Producers are producers; they're not 
distributors. The two are quite different and require different kinds of 
expertise. 



RT: What would a producer have to do if they wanted to do it on their own? 

JP: Spend five to 10 years learning the world of overseas distribution — at 
least Five to 10 years. They would have to take on the overhead of an 
infrastructure that would service distribution contracts in theirentirety — the 
marketing and promotion and advertising requirements of each distributor 
in each country — for the life of the contract. They would have to take over 
the overhead and the expertise of specialized marketing and promotion for 
launching a narrative film internationally via the appropriate markets or 
festivals. 

RT: Will some distributors handle television and some handle theatrical? 

JP: Usually you sell all the rights — which means theatrical, television, and 
home video — to one entity in one territory, because that is the fairest thing 
to do for them. They can protect their down side if the film fails commercially 
in one medium, since they have another medium through which they might 
be able to recoup their investment. At other times, it may not be the right 
strategy for a film. Those are the sorts of very subtle decisions that producers 
who are inexperienced cannot make for themselves, because they don't 
understand the ramifications. That's not their job. Their job is to produce 
films. 

RT: If you're going to a foreign sales agent, should you give them the whole 
world? Or do you go to one person for Europe, one person for Japan? 

JP: I would not do that. That would be a nightmare. You would be dealing 
with six different individuals with six different agency agreements, and they 
would split up the market. I don't think it's to anyone's advantage to do that. 

RT: Not even, let's say, a split between Canada and Europe, on the one 
hand, and the Far East on the other? 

JP: Canada is frequently — but not always — incorporated in a "North 
American" distribution arrangement. AH other territories should be handled 
by one agent. 

RT: Let's say you're a producer going to festivals and you get sales inquiries 
directly, which means 1 00 percent of the profit goes to you. What do you do? 

JP: You pass them on to your agent. You cannot have your cake and eat it. 
too. You wouldn't know how to make the best deal or have the ability to 
service it. Just as you make your decision to find a domestic distributor who 
will handle all the rights in the United States, because you know they have 
the infrastructure and the expertise and the capital to do that and to market 
the film properly, so you choose your foreign sales agent and work with 
them. 

RT: Do foreign distributors or TV buyers prefer talking to the producer 
directly because they can get away with a deal, or do they prefer working 
with agents? 

JP: They're used to dealing with agents and distributors, and prefer it, 
because they have been frustrated by independent producers who don't 
follow through or don't know how to follow through, who have to run off 
to shoot another film and can't be found. They prefer to deal with an entity 
that they've known year-in, year-out. They know where they are. they know 
their fax number, they know they're going to see them at MIPCOM. and so 
on. 

RT: When you handle a producer, do you generally cover all the expenses 
up front? 

JP: It varies from company to company. There's no set standard procedure, 
and it's negotiable. 

RT: What about the expenses entailed in attending markets? 



MAY 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 19 



.11*: Normallv when we go to a market, the producer supplies us and pays 
up from tor certain things. We may pas for our personal out-of-pocket 
expenses, or our overhead, and recoup those expenses out of the producer's 

share down the line But. say, we take out advertising in the trades. The 
producer w ill pa) lor that at the time that the cost is incurred. It", at the same 
time, we do a fax mailing to 500 buyers around the world, we will advance 
that expense and recoup u from the first income. 

□ □ □ 

RT: Let's saj I'm a producer and have a small feature film that did nicely 
at Telluride. There's some hu// about it. it gets a favorable review from 
Vincent Canby, and you've picked it up. What are the steps you'd take it 
through' 

JP: You have to create a launching strategv which will be different 
depending on the film and the timing of its launch. If a film is read) to be 
shown around the time of Telluride and the New York Film Festival, that's 
one strategy . Maybe the film isn't right for Telluride or the New York Film 
Festival. Maybe it's better to launch it in Toronto. If it's the spring, and 
there's something very special and quirky about the movie, we might decide 
to launch it in Berlin. Then we'll follow up at the market in Cannes. Or 
mav be it's such an amazing mo\ ie that it could go to Cannes officially, in 
which case it wouldn't go to Berlin. Or mav be it's Amy Heckerling's Fas! 
Times at Ridgemont High, and it should go straight into the American Film 
Market as a straightforward, interesting, cutting-edge commercial movie. 
Each situation is individuallv tailored. 

RT: What kind of rights do v ou need to deliver to a European or a Japanese 
distributor? For example, here you have to take out errors and omissions 
insurance. 

JP: That's a quintessential!} American requirement. You usually don*t do 
that for overseas. But we do need proof that all clearances have been made 
b\ the copyright holder for music and so on. People are constantly amazed 
at the adversarial, litigious nature of the U.S. Bv the same token, in order to 
protect the producer from the general lack of trust that is inherent in the 
business, especial I) over great distances, vou have to be expert at such 
things as opening and fulfilling irrevocable letters of credit, which are very 
complicated and time-consuming. 



Wren (Susan Berman) 

suffers the indignity of 

eviction in Susan 

Seidelman's feature 

film Smithereens, 

which became a hit 

among the young 

and the hip in Japan. 

Courtesy filmmaker 




RT: What are those.' 

JP: An irrev ocable letter of credit is a kind of escrow situation in w hich both 
the licensor and the licensee are protected through monies that are earmarked 
in escrow through a neutral intermediary of a bank. 

RT: Protected from each other? 

JP: In a w av . yes. The licensor proves that all the materials agreed upon have 
been sent. This is done through documentary evidence — shipping 
documents — and must conform exactly to what's contracted. If there is one 
piece missing, they will not give you the money that the distributor has 
deposited irrevocably at the bank. The bank acts as a sort of friend to both 
and enemy to none. It's extremely onerous. 

RT: Is it expensiv e to do this? 

JP: No. The distributor pays, or should pav any banking fees involved. 

RT: There are special banks that do this? 

JP: Every commercial bank can do it. Not only films are handled in that 
way. You use this method whenever you are not very familiar with a 
distributor. Even when vou are. you probably should use an irrevocable 
letter of credit. 

RT: In many countries, for television you would deliver a one-inch tape. 

JP: I'm talking about theatrical films. Television is usually much more 
straightforward. Up until now these have been straight-out. straight-up. 
"Our word is our bond" deals. It's like dealing with the government. They 
always pay — eventually. But the world is changing — with so many 
megalomaniac media buckaneers around. One may have to resort to letters 
of credit for delivering one-inch tapes from now on. 

RT: Do you simply deliver your one-inch tape or your interpositive and 
internegative? Do they pay for the titling and the dubbing? 

JP: Usually, they do their own. Many low-budget independent producers 
have never thought about what international standards are required for 
materials, because they struggle so long and hard just to raise money and get 
the film in the can. They're not used to thinking about the problems of 
international distribution, which is another reason why a producer's rep is 
invaluable. From the word go. a producer's rep should say. "You have to be 
able to deliver this. this. this, and this. So you had better put that in your 
budget as a line item, or vou won't be able to fulfill any overseas sales." 

RT: Are you talking about a filmmaker w ho's going to make a narrative at 
a million dollars, two million dollars ' 

JP: At any reasonable budget. 

RT: But most of our readers are making films at $100,000 to $200,000. 

JP: Then they shouldn't have unreal expectations. At that level, the 
overseas market becomes a viable market only by sheer chance, not by 
design. Sales may happen if the film resonates somehow in certain territories 
for certain reasons. 

PT: Will a foreign sales agent be willing to talk with them? 

JP: Yes. but they should bring the project to the sales agent while it's in 
development, not at the end w hen it's too late. No one knows how a project's 
going to turn out. I have never encountered anyone who refused to discuss 
a project with a producer. Distributors and foreign sales agents are extremely 
open, because they never know when the film in development is going to be 
thenextS/re's Gotta HaveIt.Yi.ov, can the) know atsuchanearl) stage, until 
thev have an opportunity to evaluate a project? Their advice can be verv. 
very helpful. 



20 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1989 



Unofficial Stories 

Documentaries by Latinas and Latin American Women 




La Operacion {The 
Operation, 1982), by 
Puerto Rican-based 
filmmaker Ana 
Maria Garcia, 
examines the com- 
mon practice of 
sterilization of Puerto 
Rican women. 

Courtesy Cinema Guild 



Liz Kotz 



The picture North Americans have of Latin American cinema — at its most 
militant and its most conventional — tends to be overwhelmingly male. Of 
all the well-known films that comprise what has become known as New 
Latin American Cinema, 1 only one available in the United States — Sara 
Gomez' One Way or Another — was directed by a woman. This perception 
persists, despite the diverse and growing body of work by Latin American 
women — including that by Latinas in North America — which has developed 
over the past 10 years. In the last two to three years in particular, the sheer 
quantity of work by such women and the increased opportunities to share 
contacts and experiences across national boundaries has led to an awareness 
of a movement that is changing the shape and the direction of New Latin 
American Cinema. However, outside a handful of features — The Hour of 
the Star, by Susana Amaral; Patriamada, by Tizuka Yamasaki; and Camila, 
by Maria Luisa Bemberg — this work remains all but invisible in the United 
States. 

What little attention has been given by U.S. exhibitors and critics has 
focused almost exclusively on feature films. Despite some recent excep- 
tions, entry into this sector remains limited to the "exceptional few." and the 
myriad short experimental and documentary films and tapes made by 
women have largely been generated at the margins of existing film commu- 
nities — outside the 20vemment-funded film institutes and national televi- 



sion systems. This situation is exacerbated further by the tendency to 
embalm Latin American cinema in the "great directors" model of foreign 
cinema; witness the current popularity of Dangerous Loves, an internation- 
ally coproduced package of six films based on stories by Gabriel Garcia 
Marquez. Such programs demonstrate the capabilities of relatively high- 
budget, studio-based filmmaking in Latin America. At the same time, 
independent film- and videomakers throughout the continent are producing 
a challenging and tremendously varied array of work. And, as conditions 
that influence and structure independent production increasingly become 
international issues — the polarization of mainstream and marginal cinemas, 
the hegemonic influence of national and international television networks, 
and the rapidly increasing use of video — Latin American independent 
media has great relevance for independent producers in this country. 

These are also the sectors within which women producers, the vast 
majority of whom are under the age of 40 (and thus in the early stages of their 
careers) work. While few have become familiar names on the international 
film festival circuit, they engage a series of critical issues — what it means 
to be a bicultural filmmaker, for instance, or what it means to be a woman 
in a country undergoing a twentieth-century industrial revolution — which 
promise to expand contemporary cinematic practices, particularly in such 
genres as documentary. 

□ □ □ 

By examining some recent documentaries by Latin American women 
alongside works by Latina producers in the United States. I am not 



MAY 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 21 




In The Battle of Vieques (1986), Zydnia Nazario uses 
the case of Vieques, a small Puerto Rican island, to 
show what happens when a military culture is 
imposed upon an agricultural society. 

Courtesy Cinema Guild 



attempting to efface the differences between filmmaking in Latin America 
and the U.S. but instead hope to address the increasingly transnational 
nature of this activity . This approach reflects a changing cultural landscape. 
where a number of "immigrant cinemas" and "ethnic cinemas'* have sprung 
up alongside more traditional "national cinemas" and where alliances 
among those who produce, distribute, and exhibit alternative media are 
forming across political borders and linguistic boundaries. While omitting 
man) important areas of activity, this discussion will outline some of the 
shared interests evident in this work and situate it within emerging networks 
of women producers throughout Latin America, the U.S., and Canada. 

In the past two years, a series of key events have helped to build 
recognition and momentum for this emerging "movement.'" In October 
1987 Zafra A.C. in Mexico City hosted a festival of films and videos by 
Latin American w omen, the Cocina de Imagenes (Kitchen of Images), at the 
Cineteca Nacional in Mexico City. 2 As well as presenting 12 hours of work 
each day during the 12-day event, the festival provided a major forum and 
an opportunity for Latina producers to meet, become acquainted, and 
discuss crucial issues. Almost 100 women — over half from outside of 
Mexico — attended the mass one-day meeting held during the festival to 
explore problems and plan strategies. The simple fact that there was enough 
work by Latin American and Caribbean women to provide almost two 
weeks of programming was an eye-opener for many, while the obvious 
range of styles, traditions, and contexts — from made-for-TV movies to 
activist videotapes — exploded any preconceived ideas of what constitutes 
"women's filmmaking." The Cocina also resulted in the formation of a 
biannual publication Boletin Cine \ ideo Mujer (edited in Canada by film 
scholar Zuzana Pick") and preliminary plans for another festival in 1989. 

Additionally, in the past few years the Festival of New Latin American 
Cinema in Havana has featured events that showcase the work of women 
filmmakers, including screenings of major films and large public forums. 4 
Although some Latin Americans have questioned the central role Cuba 
plays in setting international agendas for Latin American film — the Havana 
festival, the Foundation for New Latin American Cinema, the magazine 
Cine Cubano, and the new Escuela Intemacional de Cine y TV are all based 
in Cuba — this annual gathering provides the only regular opportunity for 
Latin Americans to see work from other Latin American countries. Most of 
the other major institutions that collect and disseminate information about 
Latin American cinema are based in the United States, a development that 
poses questions about the consequences of North American institutions 
setting the terms of discussion for Latin American media. Regarding work 
b) women, these institutions have become particularly powerful, because 
the circuits of communication and diffusion of information based in Cuba 
have tended to neglect the work and concerns of women producers. 

In spite of the conservative programming at most film festivals and larger 
exhibition venues in the U.S.. some active efforts are now introducing a 
ranee of nonmainstream Latin American work to audiences here. Both the 



San Antonio Cine Festival and New York-based National Latino Film and 
Video Festival reflect the explosion of independently produced work. 
Projects like the Democracy in Communication program of Latin American 
popular video organized by Karen Ranucci. X-Change TV's subtitling and 
distribution of Central American television programs, and the Latino and 
Latin American components of the satellite-distributed public access series 
Deep Dish TV promise to rethink the diffusion of foreign and minority 
media in this country. In addition, the Punto de Vista: Latina ( Point of View: 
Latina) series assembled by the U.S. nonprofit distribution company Women 
Make Movies represents a sustained commitment to acquire and subtitle 
current Latin American works as well as circulate a permanent collection for 
educational distribution nationw ide. 

Last October. Cine Accion, a San Francisco-based nonprofit organiza- 
tion of Latino and Chicano film- and videomakers sponsored the Mujeres 
de las Americas/Women of the Americas Film and Video Festival, which 
I codirected. In the course of that event we presented over 60 independently 
produced works by Latin American women, about one-third of which were 
unsubtitled and/or undistributed in the U.S. Almost a dozen filmmakers 
from Latin America and the East Coast met w ith the local film and Latino 
communities during the five-day event, which featured panel discussions on 
documentary work. Central American media, and Chicana filmmaking. 
And in Canada. Groupe Intervention Video has developed innovative distri- 
bution programs designed for educational and feminist audiences, expand- 
ing from its original French-language base in Quebec to include English- 
language tapes and materials for distribution throughout the country. 

At both the Cocina and the Cine Accion festival, the preponderence of 
documentary work was striking: over 75 percent of the films and tapes 
screened at both events could be placed in this category. The historical 
reasons for women using documentary have frequently stemmed from 
greater professional opportunities in television and journalism, as opposed 
to the notoriously male-dominated world of feature film production. Yet the 
vagaries of institutional sexism don't sufficiently explain why so many 
women are producing documentaries, since the majority of work is made 
without institutional support or funding. Certainly documentary work 
provides an important point-of-entry for beginning film/videomakers in- 
volved in collective and community organizing. Documentary can also 
appeal on a psychological level: When unsure of one's identity as a 
filmmaker, one can be grounded by — and perhaps hide behind — the de- 
mands of the subject matter. In addition, the economics of filmmaking in 
most countries clearly favor documentary production. In any case, docu- 
mentaries in general and television journalism in particular have provided 
a crucial training ground for large numbers of women film- and video- 
makers, many of whom have used this as a springboard to work in other 
genres. 

But there is another kind of appeal that documentary media may have for 
women film/videomakers in Latin America — the attraction of those people 
who are ignored or underrepresented in the dominant media to forms that 
document their own reality, culture, and perceptions. While documentaries 
done by women in Latin America comprise a vast field w ith a many different 
formal tendencies, a great deal of this work maintains a realist aesthetic and 
adheres to traditional documentary criteria for accuracy and authenticity, if 
not objectivity. 

□ □ □ 
The New York City-Puerto Rico film/video axis has given rise to some of 



22 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1989 



Nereyda Garcia Ferraz and Kate Horsfield examine 
the immigrant experience in Ana Mendieta: Fuego 
de Tierra (Ana Mendieta: Fire of the Earth, 1988), a 
video portrait of the life and work of the late Cuban- 
American artist. 

Courtesy Video Data Bank 



the most cogent analyses of U.S. neocolonialism and the complex situation 
of women living under regimes of internal and external colonization. Two 
documentary films addressing Puerto Rican issues. Ana Maria Garcfa's La 
Operation (The Operation, 1982) and Zydnia Nazario's The Battle of 
Vieques trace the inseparability of private lives from the dynamics of 
international imperialism and hegemony. Likewise, both works address the 
status of Puerto Rico as a colony of the United States and analyze local 
Puerto Rican problems in relation to larger issues of U.S. racism and 
imperialism. Garcia, a Cuban woman now living in Puerto Rico, directed 
the Cine Festival San Juan held this past October; she is currently producing 
Los Roqiteros v los Cocolos (working title), a film about youth cultures 
based on rock and salsa music in Puerto Rico and the intersections of class 
and ethnicity encountered in these communities. Nazario, who works in 
New York as an architect, is developing a new film tentatively titled Linking 
Islands, which explores identity and language in the poetry and visual art of 
various Puerto Rican artists living on and outside the island. 

Released in 1982 and used extensively in political organizing and 
educational settings. La Operation was a founding work of Latin American 
women's cinema. The chilling documentary examines the practice of mass 
sterilization of Puerto Rican women — a practice so common that it is simply 
known as "la operacion." In doing so, it presents a ground-breaking reform- 
ulation of feminist politics of the body and reproduction. Weaving inter- 
views and historical analysis with graphic scenes on the operating table, the 
film exposes the imposition of this practice of population control on the 
Puerto Rican people and suggests how it was subsequently imposed on poor 
women of color living in the United States. 

The Battle of Vieques (1986) also deals with colonialism — specifically 
the U.S. militarization of the small Puerto Rican island of Vieques and the 
subsequent destabilization of the islanders' lives and livelihoods. After the 
military usurped most of the land on the island, destroying the local 
economy, the Viequenses took up fishing. NATO bombing raids subse- 
quently damaged the coastal ecology and made this work too dangerous. 
Now, residents are faced with a choice between work in U.S. -based, hi-tech 
and munitions industries or emigration. 

Incorporating extensive archival footage. The Battle of Vieques de- 
scribes the history of the island, which lies southeast of the Puerto Rican 
mainland, as a strategic naval base that has become a gateway to U.S. 
military operations in the Caribbean and Central America. In the film, 
Nazario reveals the conflicts produced when a militaristic culture is intro- 
duced into an agricultural society. In one scene, island fishermen enact a 
David and Goliath struggle against U.S. warships. Elsewhere, a Puerto 
Rican band is shown playing The Star Spangled Banner at a naval cere- 
mony; off-key and listless, the performers seem bored and uncomfortable. 
In interview segments, islanders argue about the expanding role of the U.S. 
military in their society and discuss problems of unemployment that make 
the Navy's presence attractive to some. 

The Battle of Vieques and La Operation both chart the complex power 
relations and permeable borders between First and Third Worlds. These 
films represent works of an explicitly Puerto Rican immigrant cinema — 
works posed on the edge between two cultures, addressing both English- 
speaking and Spanish-speaking audiences. They also marked a shift in 
North American awareness of Latino filmmaking, which in the seventies 
had focused on the emerging Chicano cinema movement. (The San Antonio 
Cine Festival, for instance, originally served as a forum for Chicano film, 
but quickly moved to incorporate work from Latin America and other 




Latino cultures in the U.S.) This work — and its complex position as both an 
"ethnic" and "immigrant" cultural practice — engages issues of address, 
audience, and interlinguality in a rapidly changing context of neocolonial 
relations. 

□ □ □ 

Another tendency in media made by Latin American women is the integration 
of documentary and fictional forms, which can be seen in fiction films that 
use documentary footage and techniques 5 as well as such documentaries as 
La Mirada de Myriam [Myriam's Glance, dir. Clara Riascos/Cine Mujer, 
Colombia, 1 986), which incorporates reenactments, flashbacks, and fictional 
elements, along with documentary sequences. Recognizing the complex 
relationships between women's external and internal realities, biographical 
and autobiographical works like Diario Inconcluso (Unfinished Diary, dir. 
Marilu Maillet, Canada/Chile, 1983) and Ana Mendieta: Fuego tie Tierra 
(Ana Mendieta: Fire of the Earth, dir. Nereyda Garcia Ferraz and Kate 
Horsfield, USA, 1988) entail a multi-leveled reworking of the ways 
documentaries organize and present information. 

A mix of documentary, autobiography, and personal diary. Diario 
Inconcluso is a sometimes ambiguous and disorienting depiction of the life 
of a Chilean woman living in Montreal. The film delves into the personal 
experience of exile and loss, employ ing documentary and fictional elements 
that depart from a realist documentary aesthetic in order to impart a visceral 
sense of confusion and grief. A disturbing and often painful work. Diario 
Inconcluso follows the filmmaker as she enacts the routines of her daily life: 
discussions with her mother, a visit with Chilean friends, an argument with 
her Australian husband, and her work at a TV studio. Alternating between 
French, English, and Spanish, language becomes a battleground of identity, 
as the filmmaker raises a child in a country she herself can never call home. 

Garcia and Horsfield's tape Ana Mendieta: Fuego de Tierra. which was 
coproduced with Branda Miller, is a video portrait that recounts the life and 
work of the late Cuban-American artist. Produced to accompany a retro- 
spective exhibition of Mendieta's sculpture and performance documents, 
the tape explores the politics and emotions that shaped her unusual and 
syncretic art. Although Garcia and Horsfield avoid the subject of Mendi- 
eta's highly publicized and still unresolved death in 1985, they develop a 
complex reconstruction of memory and loss in an attempt to come to terms 
with Mendieta's powerful personal and artistic legacy. The video constructs 
a series of fragmented perceptions that follow the continuities and discon- 
tinuities in Mendieta's life: born in Cuba, sent to live in the U.S. as a child 
soon after the Cuban revolution. Mendieta ended up in an orphanage in the 
Midwest, hopelessly out-of-placc and separated from her family and any 
emigre/exile community. Photographs from her childhood and adoles- 
cence; reminiscensces by family members, former teachers, and colleagues: 
and Mendieta's own stunning documentation of her performances and 



MAY 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 23 




Mulheres Negras (Black Women, 1985), on racism 
and racial identity in Brazil, is one of several 
"collective portraits" produced by Lilith Video, a 
group based in Sao Paolo. 

Courtesy Women Moke Movies 



installations constitute the collage portrait. Like Maillet's film. Garcia and 
Horsfield's tape suggests the collisions and disjunctures of immigrant 
experience, belonging to two worlds and yet not entirely at home in either. 
This effect is underlined in interviews with members of the arts communi- 
ties in New York and Havana, who describe how Mendieta's interest in 
rebuilding cultural ties w ith Cuba reflected a deeply personal quest for con- 
nection. 

An equally dense and imaginative work grappling with contemporary 
problems of biographical filmmaking. La Mirada de Myriam, by the 
Colombian collective Cine Vlujer.'' explores shifts in identity — the deep 
changes in w hat it means to be a w oman — in a rapidly and often chaotically 
industrializing country. Like their earlier film Carmen Carrascal (dir. 
Eulal ia Carrizosa. 1 984 ). La Mirada de Myriam portrays a poor woman who 
overcomes fierce obstacles to build a creative and satisfying life. At first, the 
film appears to be a conventional documentary about a single mother 
building a life as a squatter in the outskirts of Bogota. But this initial 
impression is challenged and extended by dramatic recreations of the 
protagonists childhood memories and fears, including a mystical sequence 
in which a rural healer cures Myriam's "'evil eye." The director. Clara 
Riascos explains: 

La Mirada de Myriam was a project that was started bj Myriam herself. Myriam 
Ramirez is in her earl\ thirties, a single mother with three kids, who lives in a 
outlj ing barrio of Bogota. She is a \er\ sensitive woman with a very sad past who 
developed an inner strength and imagination that have enabled her to struggle to 
overcome the obstacles that had condemned her to poverty. There was a certain 
magical element in this. After having had a sad. verv ahusne childhood, she is now 
a protector of the kids. She started a dav-care service in her neighborhood and 
learned how to run it herself. 

Although perhaps best known in the U.S. for their earlier humorous 
fern inist short Y Que HaceSu Mama.' {What Does Your Mother Do'.'. 1983). 
in La Mirada de Myriam Cine Mujer departs from their previous cinematic 
strategy, which contested women's oppression through realist representa- 
tions, and develops more indirect and provocative techniques to elaborate 
the complexity of w omen's private and public lives. This approach engages 
traditional elements of story telling and fantasy to explore the psychological 
dimensions of empowerment and transformation. Grounded in the daily 
concerns of poor women, the film nonetheless provides powerful analyses 
of social dvnamics and political issues. 

An alternate approach to the problem of biography — how to convey the 
changing and conflicting aspects of female identity — is posed by the "col- 
lective portraits" produced by Lilith Video. Lilith, a women's video 
collective in Sao Paolo. Brazil, has produced several short documentaries, 
including Mulheres Negras {Bleu k Women, dir. Silvana Afram. 1985 (about 



racism and racial identity in Brazil; Beijo na Boca (Kiss on the Mouth, dir. 
Jacira Melo, 1987). composed of interviews with prostitutes in Sao Paolo's 
Boca do Lixo district: and Mulheres no Canavial (Women in the Cane 
Fields, dir. Silvana Afram. 1987). which profiles various rural women who 
cut cane. Each of these tapes combines multiple interviews in order to 
represent the range of experiences, thoughts, and feelings within specific 
groups of marginalized women. Jacira Melo, a member of Lilith. has 
described the interrelation of formal experimentation w ith the documentary 
material: 

You have so much freedom w ith video to develop approaches and discover a rhythm 
that suits the material, since video has so little tradition. For example, our work 
Mulheres no Canavial. made in a rural area with w omen w ho cut cane, has a different 
rhv thtn than projects we shot in the city. It was an attempt to make a work very close 
to the rhythm of these women's lives. They have a very different pace of moving, 
of talking, a different rhythm of expressing themselves. I think that these questions 
of pacing, language, and form mean a constant search for each subject.' 

nan 

As Latin American women have become increasingly active in political 
organizing, often taking the lead in countries where traditional forms of 
radical protest have been coopted or eliminated through repression, several 
documentary films have covered the development of these movements and 
their efforts to articulate political agendas outside of traditional power 
structures. Both We' re Not Asking for the Moon (dir. Mari Carmen de Lara, 
Mexico. 1986) and Las Madres: The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (dir. 
Susana Mufioz and Lourdes Portillo, USA. 1986) address an emerging 
political subject — in the first case, a new union of Mexico City seamstresses, 
and in the second, the mothers and grandmothers of Argentineans who were 
killed, imprisoned, or "disappeared" during the military dictatorship. Made 
to inform both local organizing and international support campaigns, these 
films exhibit strikingly different forms of address, although both attempt to 
mobilize and sustain popular memory in ways that overcome institutional 
silence and repression. 

We' re Not Asking for the Moon documents the formation of the indepen- 
dent seamstresses' union in the wake of the 1 985 earthquake in Mexico City . 
Made as an organizing film. We' re Not Asking for the Moon was originally 
produced for the seamstresses union with their cooperation. Whereas most 
First World news organizations framed the earthquake in the cliched and 
ahistorical discourses of natural disaster and human tragedy, de Lara's film 
examines the politics of the destruction and its aftermath by juxtaposing 
interviews with the seamstresses and their families with the official inter- 
pretation of events given by government spokesmen and Mexican televi- 
sion. As the film progresses, it engages a w hole netw ork of local "'cultural 
knowledges" (to use the formulation by British critic Paul Willemen") that 
allow the view er to situate events w ithin contemporary Mexican history. At 
times, this technique may hinder understanding of the film for foreign 
viewers unable to read the complex political landscapes and the histories 
they draw upon. How ever, the absence of an explanatory narrative functions 
very effectively to insert the view er into the experiences of chaos, grief, and 
confusion as the magnitude of the disaster and the obstacles to the seam- 
stresses' efforts unfold. 

De Lara organizes information and material to reveal the conflicting 
forces and tensions that underlie the events she depicts and thus evokes a 
dense history of political institutions, resistance, and repression. For in- 



24 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1989 



Mexican director Man Carmen de Lara 

documents the formation of a new union of 

seamstresses in the wake of the 1985 

earthauake in We're Not Asking for the Moon 

(1986). 

Courtesy First Run/Icarus 



stance, in one segment she intermixes shots of state-sponsored May Day 
celebrations in the Plaza de la Constitucion — an homage to the govern- 
ment's cooptation of the "recognized" unions — and shots of the seam- 
stresses demonstrating and being attacked by police. This sequence juxta- 
poses two relationships between state power and workers' organizations, 
emphasizing in the process the threat that the independent women's organi- 
zation poses to both traditional union hierarchies and unresponsive govern- 
ment bureaucracies. In addition to the specific historical meanings implicit 
in this scene, it provides a deft representation of relations of power in a 
society where many historical bases of opposition have been effectively 
incorporated into the centralized political structure of Mexico's largest 
political party, the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party), which has 
consistently repressed independent political movements. 

We're Not Asking for the Moon has become an important and controver- 
sial piece in Mexico, and de Lara, a graduate of the CentroUniversitariode 
Estudios Cinematographicos (the Mexico City film school), is now working 
on two other projects: a collectively produced documentary on environ- 
mental concerns and a dramatized/recreated documentary on political 
prisoners and terrorism in Mexico. Her films represent some of the excellent 
work being done by a younger generation of filmmakers who, rather than 
aligning themselves with the state-sponsored film apparatus (which is 
currently just about bankrupt and subject to widespread state censorship), 
are taking important roles in Mexico's changing political landscape. In 
search of fresh approaches and new audiences for independent film, many 
of these women are working in narrative forms — for instance, the highly 
innovative short fiction film by Maria Novaro, An Island Surrounded by 
Water (1986), which employs hand-tinted images and poetic personal 
filmmaking devices to tell the story of a girl whose mother has left to join 
a guerrilla movement in the interior of the country. 

Both Mari Carmen de Lara and Lourdes Portillo are concerned with how 
their films help to construct a popular memory — reinvoked in times of 
crisis. And both the mothers in Argentina and the seamstresses' union in 
Mexico City have used documentary films to convey information as well as 
to provide inspiration. Discussing specific uses of We' re Not Asking for the 
Moon, de Lara states. 

We trained garment makers to be projectionists, because the main reason for the film 
was to help the union get more members. What's most important is for the film to 
have a practical application. Also, when split over some issue, recently, they sat 
down and watched the film and recovered their mission and unity. 1 " 

The tactic of engaging local "cultural knowledges" to shape an activist film, 
used so effectively in We're Not Asking for the Moon, poses a problem in 
works of "immigrant cinemas" like the films made by Portillo and Susana 
Munoz. Mufioz, an Argentinean who lived in Israel before coming to the 
United States, and Portillo, who grew up in Mexico and moved to the U.S. 
as a teenager, live in San Francisco. Unlike the dense national consciousness 
embedded in de Lara's and Novaro's films, Portillo and Munoz" 
collaborations Las Madres and their more recent La Ofrenda ( The Offering, 
1989) address a lack of shared awareness/information between filmmaker 
and audience and thus broach the problem of constituting an audience for 
immigrant cinema. In Las Madres the task was to make the private anguish 
and political struggle of the Argentinean mothers and grandmothers 
comprehensible to a North American and international audience that was 
not, when the film was produced, very familiar with the plight of the 




desaparecidos and their families. Concerning audience, Portillo explains. 
"The film wasn't made for the mothers but for the rest of the world. But it's 
had such a success that even the mothers use it now to rekindle interest." 



□ □ 



□ 



At the Cine Accion festival, Portillo reflected on her position as the maker 
of immigrant cinema, in contrast to most of the Latin American participants 
whose work, however marginal, addresses a national audience. She discussed 
the problems of trying to recuperate her relationship to her own cultural 
heritage and of attempting to explain that culture to a foreign — Anglo- 
U.S. — culture. This becomes a central concern in La Ofrenda, which 
examines the observance of Day of the Dead ceremonies in Mexico and San 
Francisco, where the tradition had died out and was reintroduced largely by 
the Chicano arts community in the 1970s. What is the fate, the filmmakers 
seem to ask, of folk customs in a diaspora culture? Whereas the Mexican 
observances are imbued with spontaneity and a lack of self-consciousness 
about indigenous ritual celebrations, the San Francisco scenes suggest 
nostalgia. Unlike the Oaxacans who describe practices handed down by 
ahuelitas and community memory, the Chicanos who speak in the film 
analyze their involvement in Day of the Dead rituals and the role it plays in 
their lives. The film implies that, having been lost, culture is something that 
must be recovered, rediscovered, taught, and explained. 

This tension is reflected in the film's structure, which employs extensive 
narration to explain the Mexican practices and their history to audiences in 
the U.S. At work recutting the voiceover as this article went to press, Munoz 
and Portillo expressed frustration with the need to translate, explain, and 
provide basic information. Without a social and historical context, they 
feared that the Mexican footage would become just another set of pretty, 
exotic images for consumption. But too much historical background dis- 
tances and potentially dilutes philosphical issues about duality and death 
raised in the film. Funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and 
slated for broadcast on public TV. La Ofrenda illustrates some of the 
problems entailed in making immigrant cinema for a mainstream audience: 
how to present immigrant/ethnic cultural practices without becoming 
caught in the sets of viewing conventions — "exoticism" and "education" — 
reserved for other cultures; how to present images of Mexico that resist 
incorporation into the representations of that culture already developed by 
mainstream media. 

A very different approach to such questions is taken in the unusual found- 
footage documentary From Here. From This Side (1988), by Mexican 
v ideomaker Gloria Ribe, which presents a powerful essay on North-South 
relations. Made from clips of U.S. and Mexican films and television — all 
"borrowed" and rephotographed — the videotape addresses the power rela- 
tions between "central" and "peripheral" countries. Ribe's assemblage of 
overdetermined images and materials graphically demonstrates how these 
relations structure cultural discourses. At the same time she refuses any 
claim to cultural authenticity: instead, the tape explores the places assigned 
by these discourses and the world that they construct. 

Ribe's earlier videotape Tepito ( 1987) used conventional documentary 



MAY 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 25 




Muhoz and Portillo's recent collaboration, La 
Ofrenda (The Offering, 1989), documents Day of 
the Dead ceremonies in Mexico and San Fran- 
cisco, examining the fate of folk culture in a 
diaspora culture. 

Courtesy filmmakers 



technique* to portray a historic working-class neighborhood in Mexico 
City . but From Here. From This Side marks hergrow ing frustration with the 
such strategies — the attempt to "capture" reality with interviews and 
pro\ ide yet more information "capsules" to a TV-soaked culture. One 
reason Ribe cites for her choice is the considerable time and money required 
by "pure" documentary filmmaking and the irony of interviewing people in 
order to record statements that are predetermined. Speaking at the Cine 
Accion festival. Ribe joked. "Maybe realism is one of the biggest fictions 
e\ er created." 

In part, her found-footage technique also responds to the traditional 
position constructed by documentary film in relation to Third World 
subjects. Ribe noted how. by concentrating on Third World misery, docu- 
mentaries tend to reproduce a construction of the Third World as "victim." 
View mg Mexican television as official and closed to dissent, she proposes 
her technique as a means 

to change the v ictimness of the Third World personage. On TV. you ha\ e fragments 
of reality without anything making sense of them. You take them like a pill ever) 
morning — that's why they're called capsules — and we overdose on these pills. 1 

Ribe's concerns and strategies resonate sharply with many First World 
critical practices, and her work has received considerable attention in the 
independent video community in the U.S.. giving it a certain "crossover" 
status. In addition to screenings at last year's International Public Television 
Conference in Philadelphia and the Cine Accion festival, From Here. From 
This Sale was included in the American Film Institute's 1988 National 
Video Festiv al and subsequently exhibited in San Francisco at New Lang- 
ton Arts — not a venue known for its attention to Latino or Third World 
media. 

nan 

Both La Ofrenda and From Here. From This Side suggest interesting 
questions about the borders of New Latin American Cinema and the 
appropriation and reappropriation of cultural practices, images, and 
discourses. Both North and South America are sites of unprecedented flow s 
of populations and cultural practices — especially in mass media. A major 
influence on these developments is U.S. mass media, which saturates the 
film and television circuits throughout Latin America. The resulting 
transnational character of media technologies, techniques, and visual 
languages makes it increasingly difficult to demarcate the boundaries 
between "First World" and "Th ird World" media. As people from throughout 
Latin America and the Caribbean have immigrated to the U.S.. often fleeing 



the repercussions of U.S.neocolonial involvement abroad, more established 
communities of Chicanos. Puerto Ricans. and Cubans have been joined by 
grow ing numbers of Dominicans. Colombians. Chileans. Ecuadoreans. and 
Salvadorans. The traditional segregated model of U.S. Latino populations — 
Chicanos/Mexican-Americans in the Southwest. Puerto Ricans in the East, 
and a handful of Cubans in Florida — no longer accurately describes the 
diversity of Latin American cultures in this country and their encounters 
with white, African- American, and Asian North American cultures. 12 

These historical experiences of immigration, dislocation, and displace- 
ment have profound implications for discussing Latin American cinema. 
Situated on the border between two — or more — cultures, those who make 
documentaries like those discussed here are often forced to formulate film 
languages that can address not just different audiences but divergent modes 
of organizing and receiving information, and even different ideas about 
w hat constitutes information. And a video like From Here. From This Side, 
which entails a critical view of both U.S. and Mexican cultural cliches, will 
be received differently on each side of the border. Likewise, a film like Las 
Madres, made to inform an international and North American audience, will 
function differently when shown in Argentina. Work that is oppositional in 
a Latin American context may not be in the U.S. and vice versa. 

Although relatively little has been written in English on Latino cinema 
in the United States." recent critical work on Latina literature offers some 
useful parallels. An important contribution to criticism of writing by women 
from diverse traditions — Chicana. Puertorriquena. Cuban-American, and 
immigrant/exiled Latin American — Breaking Boundaries: Latina Writings 
and Critical Readings.^ prob\emal\zes the bilingual or interlingual text and 
its exclusion from both English and Latin American literary canons. 
Another example can be found in contemporary Black British filmmaking 
and related projects — in sociology, music, and media studies — concerned 
w ith the processes of dislocation, adaptation, and hybridity developed in 
diaspora cultures." 

Just as one current in Black studies has adopted the model of "cultures of 
Africa and the African diaspora," the American migrations of the past 
decade propose parallel developments in Latin American diaspora cultures. 
Intersecting class, national, and ethnic identities, complicated by personal 
experiences, reflect a contemporary history of Latin America (and the 
United States) in w hich exile, rupture, transnational migration, and bicultu- 
ral identity have become relatively common. 1 " With this in mind, the range 
of recent documentary films and tapes by Latinas and Latin American 
women raises a series of questions: How does the diversity of Latina media 
"fit" into analyses of North American and Latin American cinemas'? How 
do critics — both First and Third World — situate this work by film/video- 
makers w ho are themselves bicultural ? And how do w hite North American 
critics, such as myself, write about these emerging immigrant cinemas 
w ithout reduplicating problematic relationships between Third World cul- 
tures and First World critics? The traditional method of identifying and 
delineating "national cinemas" may no longer be adequate for understand- 
ing transnational networks of communications — not to mention a world 
where the category of "national culture" is itself hotly contested. 

Li: Kotz is a San Francisco-based writer, producer, and curator. She 
codirected Cine Action's Women of the Americas film and video festival 
and teaches video aesthetics at New College of California. 

£ 1989 Li/ kol/ 



26 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1989 



Mexican videomaker Gloria Ribe cuts together 

rephotographed film and television footage from 

the U.S. and Mexico in From Here, From This Side 

(1988) to create a powerful essay on 

North-South relations. 

Photo Kirk Schroeder 



NOTES 

1 . New Latin American Cinema refers to a movement of filmmaking that emerged 
in Latin America in the late 1950s. For an analysis of "the complex network of 
determinants that catalyzed the movement's emergence and later, its effort to 
achieve pan-Latin America unity." see Ana Lopez, "An 'Other' History: The New 
Latin American Cinema," Radical History Review, No. 41 (Fall 1988). For an 
examination of work by women within New Latin American Cinema, see B. Ruby 
Rich, "After the Revolution: The Second Coming of Latin American Cinema." 
Village Voice. February 10, 1987. pp. 23-27. 

2. For more information on the Cocina, see Julianne Burton, "A Feast of Film- Video: 
Notes from the Cocina,"C/W/4r<7wiM'M , .s. Vol.4, No. 1 (Spring 1988 Land Patricia 
Vega, "Video Work by Women." in the exhibition catalogue Latin American 
Visions, Pat Aufderheide, ed. (Philadelphia: Neighborhood Film and Video Project, 
1989). 

3. Available from Film Studies Department, Carleton University. Ottawa, Ontario, 
K1S5B6, Canada. 

4. For a report on presentations at the 1986 Havana Festival, see La Mujer en los 
medios audiovisuales: Memorias del VIII Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine 
LatinoamericanoA Mexico City : Coordinacionde DifusionCultural/UNAM. 1988). 

5. For example, Tizuka Yamasaki's film Patriamada (Brazil. 1985). which 
incorporates extensive documentary footage into its dramatic narrative, or Solveig 
Hoogesteijn's Macu: The Policeman' s Wife (Venezuela, 1987) and Susana Amaral's 
The Hour of the Star (Brazil, 1985), which use a documentary aesthetic in the context 
of feature films. 

6. The Cine Mujer collective, founded in 1978, consists of Sara Bright, Eulalia 
Carrizosa, Dora Cecilia Rameriz. Particia Restrepo, Clara Riascos. and Luz Fanny 
Tobon. 

7. "Entrevista con Cine Mujer." Cinemateca: Citadernos de Cine Colomhiano, No. 
21 (March 1987). p. 17. 

8. See Liz Kotz. "An Interview with Lilith Video." The Independent, Vol. 1 1, No. 
7 (August/September 1988). 

9. See Paul Willemen. "An Avant Garde for the Eighties," Framework No. 24 
(Spring 1984). 

10. De Lara's comments were spoken at the panel discussion New Directions in 
Documentary Filmmaking at the Cine Accion Festival, San Francisco, October 22, 
1988. 

1 1. Ribe also participated in the New Directions panel discussion. 

1 2. For an analysis of East Coast Latino communities, see Xavier F. Totti. "Latinos 
in New York," The Portable Lower East Side, Vol. 5, Nos. 1-2, (1988). 

13. For an overview of contemporary Latino cinema, see Eduardo Diaz. Latin 
American Visions, op. cit. 

14. Asuncion Horno-Delgado. Eliana Ortega, Nina M. Scott, and Nancy Saporta 
Stern bach. ,eds. Breaking Boundaries (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 
1989). See also. Enrique Fernandez' article on a panel discussion at the Miami Film 
Festival. "El Norte: Tres Amigos," Village Voice, February 28, 1989, pp. 34. 

15. For discussions of Black British cinema, see. for example. Kobena Mercer, 
"Recoding Narratives of Race and Nation," The Independent. Vol. 12. No. 1 
(January /February 1989); Coco Fusco, Young. British and Black -(Buffalo: Hallwalls. 
1988); Screen. "The Last 'Special Issue' on Race?" Isaac Julien and Kobena Mercer. 




eds.. Vol. 29. No. 4 (Autumn 1988); Reece Auguiste. Jim Pines, and Paul Gilroy, 
"Handsworth Songs: Interview with Black Audio Film Collective," Framework No. 
34 ( 1988); Martina Attile and Jim Pines. "The Passion of Remembrance: Interview 
with Sankofa Film and Video," Framework No. 32/33 (1986); and Jim Pines, 
"Territories: An Interview with Isaac Julien," Framework. No. 26/27 (1985). For 
more general discussions of race, identity . and cultural information, see Paul Gilroy. 
There Ain't No Black in the Union Jack (London: Hutchinson/Birmingham Center 
for Contemporary Cultural Studies, 1987); Homi Bhabha. "The Other Question." 
Screen. Vol. 24, No. 5-6 (November/December 1983); and Paul Gilroy and Ha/el 
Carby. eds.. The Empire Strikes Back (London: Hutchinson/CCCS, 1982). 

16. See. for example. Zuzana Pick. "Chilean Cinema in Exile," Framework, No. 34 
( 1987), and Coco Fusco, "Long Distance Fimmaking: An Interview with the Cine- 
Ojo Collective" in Coco Fusco, ed.. Reviewing Histories ( Buffalo: Hall w alls. 1 987). 



Distribution Information 

Ana Mendieta: Fuego de Tierra: Video Data Bank, Art Institute of 
Chicago, 16 Colombus Drive at Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60603; 
(312)443-3793 

An Island Surrounded by Water, Black Women, Carmen Carrascal, 
Diariolnconciuso, From Here, From This Side: Women Make Movies, 
225 Lafayette St., Ste. 212, New York, NY 10012; (212) 925-0606 



Batalla de Vieques, La Operation: Cinema Guild, 
New York, NY 10019; (212) 246-5522 



697 Broadway. 



We're Not Asking for the Moon: First Run/Icarus, 200 Park Ave. S., 
Ste. 1319, New York, NY 10003; (212) 674-3375 

Las Madres: The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo: Direct Cinema, Box 
69799, Los Angeles, CA 90069; (213) 652-8000 

La Mirada de Myriam: Cine Mujer, Apartado Aereo 2758, Bogota, 
Colombia 283-6593 (Due to shared rights with FOCINE, the Colombian 
national film production agency, Cine Mujer has not been able to 
release distribution rights to the film in the United States.) 



MAY 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 27 



FESTIVALS 



FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE: 

THE INTERNATIONAL NON-FEATURE FILM 

FESTIVAL IN LENINGRAD 




U.S. delegates 
staying at the 
Leningrad Hotel had 
a tirst-class view of 
the battleship that 
fired the first shots of 
the 1917 Revolution, 
the Aurora. It is now 
a major tourist 
attraction, docked 
on the Neva River 
outside the 
Nakhimov Naval 
College. 



I F ■- 3to Kirk Simon 



Ed's note: A delegation of 14 US. filmmakers 

and media organization representatives attended 
the first documentary festival held in Leningrad 
from January 25-31 . 1989. The following are 
reports by some of the U.S. participants on their 
experiences. 



Lyn Goldfarb 

E\ er since the days of the Russian Rev olution and 
Dziga Vertov. documentary film has held a promi- 
nent place in the Soviet Union. In recent v ears, the 
So\ iets ha\ e become keenlv interested in strength- 
ening relations w ith U.S. documentary filmmakers. 
So it was only logical that after Soviet and U.S. 
filmmakers held their first Entertainment Summit 
in March 1987 on feature film production, a 
summit on documentary filmmaking would soon 
follow. Ten months later in Tbilisi. Soviet Geor- 
gia, a documentary film council was formally 
established as part of the Los Angeles-based 
American Soviet Film Initiative (ASFI) and its 
sisterorganization in the Sov iet Union, the Ameri- 
cano-Sovietskaya Kino Initiativa (ASK) [see 
"Shoot Films. Not Rockets."" April 1988]. When 



Leonid Gurevich. an aw ard-w inning Soviet docu- 
mentary screenwriter and head of ASK's docu- 
mentary committee, came to the States last sum- 
mer to meet with his U.S. counterparts, we agreed 
that ASFI would help coordinate U.S. participa- 
tion in the First International Non-Feature Film 
Festival in Leningrad. This was the first interna- 
tional festival in the USSR devoted to documen- 
tary film, which came about when the Moscow 
International Film Festival divided itself into three 
separate festivals: documentary, features, and 
children's films. 

I was involved in several film projects which 
necessitated my being in Moscow for several 
months. So. while Anne Borin organized pro- 
gramming and arrangements on the U.S. side. I 
w as w orking closely w ith the Soviets — Gurevich. 
ASK. and later representatives of Sov ■interfest. 
the agency which sponsors all Soviet film festi- 
vals. Overall, we were able to work out the logis- 
tics fairly well, although the Soviets were not 
accustomed to dealing with our deadlines for 
purchasing discounted airline tickets. We had to 
exert considerable pressure to get them to make 
decisions three weeks in advance. However, the 
Soviets were quite generous in providing hotel 
accommodations and responding to the compli- 



cated local transportation needs of 14 Ameri- 
cans — the largest foreign delegation there. 

Since this was a first-time festival, it is only 
natural that there would be some problems. One 
w as that it w as organized almost as if it were tw o 
different festivals: the competition held at the 
festi\ al's headquarters in the Leningrad Hotel and 
the "informational" program spread over five or 
six theaters in town. Regrettably, there was no 
arrangement for audience discussion at the com- 
petition screenings. Equally unfortunate was that. 
after bringing together a remarkable group of 
delegates from around the world, the Sov iets did 
not organize any get-togethers for the filmmakers 
to discuss the theoretical, artistic, or practical 
aspects of their craft. While discussions took 
place any w ay, particularly on Sov iet documenta- 
ries, they occurred in a different building — at 
Dom Kino, the Filmmakers Union Film Club — 
and were not always translated. 

The in-town screenings for the information 
section and more popular films in competition 
w ere oriented tow arcl Sov iet residents. Scheduled 
day and night in theaters throughout the city . these 
events were poorly publicized to festival partici- 
pants. There was no schedule in English for sev- 
eral davs. and no one at the festival had all the 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1989 



screening times in advance. But this did not pres- 
ent a problem to the Soviets, since the films were 
advertised on radio and schedules in Russian were 
posted at the individual theaters. (These listed the 
film times simply as being morning, afternoon, or 
evening. (These screenings, which regularly drew 
large, attentive crowds, did allow the filmmakers 
to introduce their work and talk to the audience 
afterwards. 

Organizational and communication problems 
will always exist in the nascent stage of a film 
festival. Working on the International Non-Fea- 
ture Film Festival in Leningrad was a valuable 
lesson in surmounting differences in culture and 
language, and helped further extend the network 
growing between Soviet and U.S. documentary 
filmmakers. 

Lyn Goldfarb is an Academy-Award nominated 
documentary filmmaker and organizer and co- 
chair of the Documentary Council ofASFI. She is 
currently producing a Soviet-American feature 
film. Odyssey, for American Playhouse. 



Anne Borin 

When Leonid Gurevich came to the United States 
last August, he and I spoke at length about the state 
of documentary production, distribution, and fi- 
nancing in the U.S. today. Before leaving, he 
asked if I would program and help coordinate the 
U.S. entries to the Leningrad documentary festi- 
val. He suggested that I work under the auspices 
of the American Soviet Film Initiative (ASFI) in 
California, along with their representative. Lyn 
Goldfarb. 

The festival was to be dedicated solely to non- 
fiction film and reflected the Soviet film com- 
munity's desire to see documentaries with a broad 
range of subject matter and political ideology. 
With the festival's theme of "peace, goodwill, and 
social justice" in mind. I set about my program- 
ming task. 

The first challenge was to create the equivalent 
of a staff and organizational structure for a major 
festival in a matter of weeks. There were only two 
limitations: time and money. This would have to 
be a self-funding venture. We hoped the entry fee 
would coverall costs incurred. Althought this was 
a risk, I felt that at this particular time in history, 
we could not pass up the opportunity to make a 
coordinated programming effort on behalf of U.S. 
documentary filmmakers. 

Because the entry deadline was little more than 
two months away, there wasn't time to advertise 
in national publications. However, I took advan- 
tage of several festivals and markets in New York 
City that brought in films from around the coun- 
try. I also sought recommendations from numer- 
ous curators and programmers. I viewed over 80 
films released since August 1987 and recruited 
43. Then Marie Nesthus. principal librarian of the 
Donnell Media Center of the New York Public 



Library, and I chose 20 titles of great range and 
quality to send to the Soviets for their final selec- 
tion. We were surprised and pleased when the 
Soviets wanted all 20 entries — Girltalk and No 
Applause, Just Throw Money for the main compe- 
tition, and the other 18 for the informational 
screenings.* 

Lyn and I next found ourselves in the roles of 
travel agent and shipping company. We helped 
secure visas and accommodations for the visiting 
filmmakers and even worked out a last-minute 
plan to take the 1 00 pounds of film as overweight 
luggage via Lyn's Aeroflot flight. (This helped 
get around shipping costs and the uncertainty of 
the films reaching the festival in time and in good 
condition.) 

At the festival the flow of information from 
staff to festival guests was unpredictable, espe- 
cially concerning screening arrangements. The 
administration was compartmentalized, and each 
department had an office on a different floor of the 
festival's headquarters in the Leningrad Hotel. 
The many people involved in settling a problem 
slowed matters down, but not unpleasantly, be- 
cause any visit to an office could involve a glass 
of wine, a few presents, and lots of good cheer 
while waiting for the solution. With an added ef- 
fort in the translation of materials, the process of 
communication finally became manageable and 
concise midway through the festival. 

The little bit of free time we had to enjoy 
Leningrad was wonderful. The winter weather 
was unusually mild and the northern light extraor- 
dinary. We were free to travel throughout the city 
and get a taste of its glorious art and architecture. 
The festival generously provided daily tours to 
museums and film studios. One of the most excit- 
ing places was Dom Kino, a film club in the heart 
of Old Leningrad, which was alive with concerts, 
conversation, and film screenings far into the 
early morning hours. 

As I look back at the frenzy of last minute 
telexes, hand-carried films, and initial uncertain- 
ties. I realize that the leap of faith to participate in 
this first-time festival, particularly with so many 
titles, was well worth taking. As I told many of the 
filmmakers in ourdelegation when problems arose, 
we were participating as pioneers. Any mistakes 
and problems would become valuable lessons in 
years to come. And as Gurevich wrote, quoting an 
old Russian proverb, "The first pancake was not a 
mess." Indeed, things did work out even better 
than expected. 

Anne Borin. former president of the New York 
Film and V ideo Council, was editor o/The Exiles. 
an upcoming PBS documentary. She has been 
active in Soviet-US. cultural initiatives, includ- 
ing work on behalf of the Center for Soviet- 
American Dialogue. 

* Ultimately, 14 films went to the informational section: 
Beirut The Last Hume Movie, by Jennifer Fox; Broken 
Noses, by Bruce Weber; Fake Fruir Factory, by Chick 
Strand: Family Gathering, by Lise Yasui: Gap-Toothed 



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Women. h> Los Blank: Missile, by Frederick \\ iseman; 
i in \merica. b\ John Cohen: Radio Bikini. b\ 
Robert Stone: Sharing <' New Song. b> Chris Schmidt: 
Thin Him Lute, b) Errol Morns. Tun Dollars and a 
Dream, b> Stanley Nelson; Voices m the Attic, by 
Debbie Goodsiein; Voices of Sarafina.b) Niycl Nobel; 
and )i>iiiij tu Heart, by Sue Marx. 

Alyson Denny 

1 landed in Moscow a couple of da) s before being 
sent by train to Leningrad and was immediately 
struck b) the pow erof t>lasnost. Some official just 
handed me my room key and ne\ er called again. 
Not only did they not tell me what to do. they 
didn't even suggest anything. I wandered around 
the city for a couple of days until I thought 1 was 
beginning to understand something about how 
things work in the Soviet Union. But then I got to 
the festival. 

At the introductory press conference, the festi- 
v al director announced that a bottle of champagne 
would be awarded for the best question and the 
best answ er at all subsequent press conferences. I 
thought this was some kind of obscure Russian 
joke. Two days later I was the proud owner of a 
bottle of Soviet champagne. In response to the 
question "Do you want to sell Girltalk in the 
Soviet Union?" I had asked. "I'd love to. but w hat 
would I do with the rubles?" Even then I wasn't 
sure if I'd received a best question or best answer 
bottle. 

One of the relaxing things about the festival 
was that you couldn't get too w rapped up in mar- 
keting your film, since noone — neither filmmakers 
nor festival officials — seemed to know how to go 
about doing such a thing. I ended up just leaving 
a \ ideotape of Girltalk with the festival officials 
so that anj one w ho w anted to see it or even put it 
on television could do so. Another relaxing aspect 
of festiv al life in Leningrad was the discovery that 
now adays in the Soviet Union it is actual!) "in" to 
make documentaries. People would say. "Oh. 
you're a documentary filmmaker. How wonder- 
ful!" 

Girltalk was one of the two U.S. films in the 
competition section. At first I thought the compe- 
tition was the place to be — at least you knew 
where it was — until I began hearing about the 
incredible receptions films were getting in vari- 
ous theaters around town. Then I was pleasant!) 
surprised to learn that Girltalk was also show ing 
in town. So far as I can tell. I made it to most of my 
screenings, although I didn't hearabout one 1 a.m. 
show until 3:30 that night. At these theaters I was 
greeted with great enthusiasm, gifts, and auto- 
graph requests. 

Girltalk is a film about three runaway teen- 
agers: Pink>. a truant: Mars, a stripper: and Martha, 
a teen mother and incest victim. One of the first 
questions at each screening was. "Are these sto- 
nes typical of American girls?" My best attempt 
at an answer was that these stories are not by an) 
means the norm in the United States, but they are 



Members of the U.S. delegation 

gather for a luncheon hosted by 

the U.S. Consulate. Left to right, 

front row: Karen Goodman, 

Richard Leacock, Mark Lipson, 

Robert Stone, Lyn Goldfarb 

(holding folder), Sally Berger, 

Lawrence Sapadin, Les Blank, 

Anatoli llyashov; rear: Consulate 

staff and Bart Teush (third from 

left), Sue Marx, Robert Richter. 



Photo Kirk Simon 



much more common than many Americans know. 
I also got many of the same questions about the 
girls and the film that I get everywhere else. 

At the end of the festival. Girltalk received a 
KIWI Award (Kino Women International is an 
organization of w omen professionals in film, tele- 
vision, and video which was founded in 1988 in 
Tblisi. Soviet Georgia.) Part of the award was five 
Russian folk dolls — one for each girl involved in 
the project: Kate Davis, myself. Pinky. Mars, and 
Martha — plus a squeaky toy for Martha's baby, 
Keith. This award was so in keeping with the 
collaborative nature of the film that I felt perhaps 
not much had been lost in the translation. 

Alyson Denny is the associate director, cinema- 
tographer, and coeditor o/Girltalk. She is writer/ 
director of the fiction film Saturday Afternoon 
and is about to begin production on Ethan: Por- 
trait of an Organ Salesman. 



R obert Stone 

My memories of the Leningrad International Non- 
Feature Film Festival are like snapshots inside my 
head. I'm not quite sure what they add up to. but. 
for the experience alone, it w as well w orth the trip. 
I say this despite the organization of the festival 
and the selection of films, which were generally 
poor. It's Leningrad in the winter of 1989 that I 
remember. It's a guy who runs Ueningrad's big- 
gest jazz club telling me how he once, many years 
ago. wrote a letter to Louis Armstrong stating 
simply. "We dig you Satch" — and got a letter 
back from the man himself. It's fly ing across tow n 
in a taxi driven by a pretty young woman chain- 
smoking Marlboro cigarettes, blasting Depeche 
Mode on her cassette deck, and driving like the 
Keystone Cops. On her dashboard is a sign that 
displays the U.S. and Soviet flags with PEACE 
written across it. She doesn't speak English, but I 
like her. It's a currency that is officially overval- 
ued by 2000 percent: these people laugh at their 
own money. It'sdrunkenly flagging down a huge 
passengerless bus at two in the morning and. for 
two packs of cigarettes. ha\ ing the driver take us 
across town as if n were a taxi. While we're on the 



30 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1989 




subject of local transportation, going into the 
subway is like a journey to the center of the earth. 
We once went so far down I thought we had gone 
clear through and ended up on the Lexington 
Avenue subway line. But subways are subways 
and rush hour is the same the world over, even in 
the Soviet Union. 

In the USSR these days left is right and right is 
left (politically that is) — i.e.. Donald Trump is a 
leftist and Stalin is considered a right-winger. I 
remember intense discussions with Soviet docu- 
mentary filmmakers about what is happening in 
their country. Numerous bottles of cognac have 
been consumed ( vodka is in short supply), the sun 
is rising over the Neva River, and the conversation 
is only getting more interesting. They tell me 
about their plans to produce films with such titles 
as Demon of the Revolution about Trotsky. Near 
the Tyrants on Stalin and his pals. Gulag Archi- 
pelago based on the book by the exiled Solzhe- 
nitsyn. Chernobyl Is Near about that disaster and 
the global ecology, and a history of Russian mo- 
nasteries. 

In a large auditorium a punk band called Strange 
Games is belting out a steady rhythm (they're 
good!). Before the final number the crowd starts 
yelling, "Helter Skelter, Helter Skelter," to which 
the band obliges with a terrific rendition. The 
crowd goes nuts. Another night there's a jazz 
ensemble of the quality you might expect to see at 
Carnegie Hall. 

I remember a guy from Azerbaidzhan coming 
up to me in a bar. He humbly explains that he'd 
like me to come home with him to take a Polaroid 
of him. his wife, and their newborn daughter to 
send to his parents back home. "Sure, why not." 
Then there is the anarchist bass player, recently 
released from what he called a "Bolshevik prison 
camp" for black marketeering. He sports a t-shirt 
with a picture of a crazed Mickey Mouse holding 
a hammer and sickle. He likes Frank Zappa. This 



is a country on the verge of a nervous breakdown. 
I want to go back. 

Robert Stone is producer/director of Radio Bi- 
kini. 

Sue Marx 

Showing Young at Heart at the Leningrad film 
festival was a deeply moving experience. The 
film, which I coproduced and codirected with 
Pamela Conn, is about my 87-year-old Soviet- 
born father. Louis Gothelf. and his new 86-year- 
old American-born wife. Reva — two widowed 
artists who met and married late in life. 

Initially I was somewhat concerned about the 
reaction the Soviets might have to the film's 
subject matter, this being a love story about two 
obviously well-to-do older Americans. But the 
positive, enthusiastic response at each of the three 
screenings confirmed my belief that there is really 
little difference in people's basic feelings. The 
Soviet audiences' questions and comments fol- 
lowing the screenings were almost exactly the 
same as those I get in the U.S. But there was 
something special here, due to my father's con- 
nection with their country. They could still hear 
something of his Russian accent, although he left 
the Soviet Union when he was 1 3 years old. They 
wanted to know all about him: Where he was 
born? Was he healthy and happy'.' and so on. 

The Soviets also enjoyed telling me their per- 
sonal stories and communicating in other w ;i\ s A 
translator said that she went home to her widowed 
mother after a screening and encouraged her to 
come see the film the next day. "so she could get 
inspired to change her life." After another screen- 
ing, a man walked up and handed me a draw ing he 
had done, asking that I give it to my father. 
Another Sox Tel artist brought to my hotel room 



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A Dixieland band gets down at 
the Dom Kino, a cine club in the 

old section ol Leningrad where 

Soviet and visiting filmmakers 

could watch screenings, listen to 

music, and talk far into the night. 

Photo Lawrence Sopoam 



several hooks she had illustrated Written inside 
one w as a lone message for Rev a. which I assume 
mv lather has translated bv now. Leningrad film- 
maker Ludmila Stanukinas presented me with a 
hand-made paint hrush which an elderly man 
wanted m> fathertohave. And sitting on a shelf in 
my office are tw o ceramic apples, a special aw ard 
from KIWI. 

> i tung at Henri w as screened o\ er three da) s in 
three different theaters: twice in small theaters in 
town before completely Sov iet audiences and 
once before the festival audience in the hotel's 
concert hall. Translation sometimes presented a 
problem. I had no trouble w ith the booming voice 
of the Russian translator which came over the 
loudspeakers in the theaters, although this gave 
audiences onl) one option — listening to the Rus- 
sian translation. At the hotel, one was supplied 
with headsets which relaxed translations in sev- 
eral languages. But. because of the v olumn of the 
Russian translation, it was impossible to concen- 
trate on v our chosen language, much less hear the 
original soundtrack, which was turned down. 

Overall I'd say the festival was a success, but 
there were times when confusion reigned. Given 
the festival's handicaps — a first-time effort, a 
div ersitv of languages to cope with, no computers 
or copying machines to help — it's remarkable 
that it w ent as w ell as it did. Anne Borin did a great 
job organizing the U.S. contingent and Lyn Gold- 
farb prov ided the necessary glue and clout to keep 
it together. Once everyone got into the swing of 
things, we all had a great time. Best of all. I got to 
take my father back to the So\ iet Union — on film. 

Sue Min v is a Detroit-based writer, producer, and 

director. She has won numerous international 
awards, int fading seven Entmys and an Academy 
Award for Young at Heart, voted Best Documen- 
tary Short Subject last year. 



Robert Richter 

When I visited Moscow about 10 years ago. 
nearly even. one 1 spoke to was frowning as they 
described how wonderful things were. In my 
recent journey to Leningrad, nearly ev ery one w as 
smiling as they described how bad things were. I 
had come face to face w ith the refreshing experi- 
ence of alasnost and perestroika. 

If mv festiv al experience reflects changes since 
Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the USSR. 




then it seems Sov iet artists are now making a 
special point of candidly speaking out to Ameri- 
cans. Open criticism and frank recognition of 
their country 's problems were the rule rather than 
the exception, whether I was speaking with festi- 
v al officials, filmmakers, or Intourist guides. Also, 
in informal conversations many Soviet festival 
and film officials expressed a strong interest in 
U.S./L'SSR coproductions and in the distribution 
of U.S. documentaries in the Soviet Union. A 
major obstacle, how ev er. w hich they recognize, is 
the fact that rubles are not convertible into U.S. 
dollars. Any money made from Sov iet distribu- 
tion has to be spent there. 

There were a number of special ev ents sched- 
uled throughout the week. One that placed the 
festiv al on the front pages of the new spapers w as 
the return visit of Natalia Makarova. a prima 
ballerina in Leningrad's Kirov Ballet who had 
defected to the West in 197 1 . Since a BBC film by 
and about Makarova had been selected for the 
festival, she had been granted permission bv the 
Soviet government to appear with the film and 
also perform with the Kirov Ballet. I was among 
the crowd of 2.000 eager and expectant people 
who overflowed a cultural center to welcome 
Natalia and her film. An incredibly emotional 
ev ent. it w as her first public appearance in the city 
in 18 years. The man sitting in front of me rushed 
to the stage the moment she walked on. He knelt 
next to her. kissed her foot, the hem of her skirt, 
her hand, and presented her with a bouquet of 
roses. Her tearful and joyful response to her ador- 
ing audience was a front-page story and photo- 
graph in the next day's Pravda — an indication of 
the new Sov iet mood. 

"If Hitler was a criminal, then Stalin was a 
criminal" — that is how the master of ceremonies 
introduced another festival event, one held "in 
memory of the Stalinist repression's victims." 
Ten vears ago Stalin was still considered a god to 
the Sov iets. Now . there is standing room only at a 
large theater show iniz a Sov iet film about his reian 



of injustice, torture, violence, and death. Rela- 
tives of the victims were on stage to amplify the 
film's reports and answer audience questions. The 
general sentiment was, "We can no longer remain 
silent" about the terrible things that happened 
during Stalin's rule. The new political climate 
was also reflected in Soviet films that dealt can- 
didly and graphically w ith such problems as drug 
addiction {Needles ). self-immolation by hundreds 
of w omen in Uzbekistan (Flame), and false crimi- 
nal charges against a prominent Soviet writer 
(Counter-Claim). 

These heavy messages were in contrast to the 
mood at the Dom Kino, the cinema club which 
combined a restaurant, bar. screening rooms, and 
jam sessions of American jazz and Dixieland 
under one roof. It was here where the foreign 
festival participants freely mixed with Soviet 
filmmakers. Despite the problems of screening 
arrangements, schedules, and communications. 
when Leningrad again undertakes such an ambi- 
tious event, it will be a w onderful opportunity for 
independent producers ev erv w here. 

Robert Richter is an independent producer and 
has been president ofAIVF since 1982. 



Kirk Simon and 
Karen Goodman 



No Applause. Just Throw Money, one of two U.S. 
films selected for the official competition, is about 
New YorkCit.v \ street performers — 101 of them. 



Karen Goodman accepts the Silver 
Prize for No Applause. Just Throw 
Money at the closing ceremony. 

Jury head Irwin Leiser is at far right. 

Photo Kirk Simon 



32 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1989 



The Soviets have an intense hunger for informa- 
tion about New York; they're fascinated by the 
Great City of Capitalism. So the theaters were 
packed and the audiences eager and receptive 
when we showed our film. Soviet paparazzi were 
out in full regalia and television crews covered the 
first screening. Interviews brought hard questions 
of substance. The usual "how many rolls? how 
long? how much?" were absent. Instead, there 
were questions about theme, symbolism, intent, 
as well as questions like, "What's the relationship 
between your film. Toulouse-Lautrec, and Pi- 
casso?" In an interview with Moscow Central TV. 
the producer/interviewer popped a surprise ques- 
tion: Would we be interested in documenting our 
impressions of Leningrad — No Applause a la 
Russe? We couldn't quite believe they were seri- 
ous, but they assured us their offer was very real. 
It included no rubles, but a complete crew: cam- 
eraman, engineer, gaffer, grip, driver, translator, 
and van. They said we could photograph any- 
where we wanted. As we understood it. the idea 
was to have a look at the Soviet cityscape through 
American eyes. We had only to agree to allow the 
results to be broadcast on Vzljad (View), a top- 
rated show reputed to be something of an avant- 
garde 60 Minutes. Who could refuse? But we had 
less than a day to prepare. 

The next morning, we were greeted by our 
crew, who carried the latest in Soviet video equip- 
ment: location 1 " deck complete with an outdated, 
tired Ikegami 75. Initially we underestimated our 
cameraman, assuming he'd be a jaded news hack, 
like his U.S. counterpart. We couldn't have been 
more wrong. To earn the right to be a Soviet news 
camera operator, you need six years of technical 
training and an apprenticeship in a film studio. 
Our cameraman was accomplished, intuitive, and 
versed in Eisenstein. 

We roamed the streets quite freely, searching 
for those documentary "decisive moments." For 
the first shot of the day. we chose familiar ground: 
some Soviet street performers whom we'd met at 
a party the night before. We set up near the 
Aurora, the famous battleship that fired the first 



shots of the Revolution and is now a Soviet tourist 
attraction — their equivalent of the Liberty Bell. 
The performers were a wacky, irreverent mime 
troup, their impromptu performance rich with 
political satire. This included a Chaplinesque 
impersonation of the guards protecting the battle- 
ship. Suddenly, the Aurora's captain stormed down 
the gangplank followed by a machine gun-toting 
entourage. He accused our Soviet producer of 
committing "sacrilege" by desecrating a "sacred 
Soviet War Museum." We were convinced we 
were going to be arrested. But somehow in the 
heated discussion our producer managed to talk 
his way out of the jam. Score one for glasnost. 

We continued on our way, stopping to photo- 
graph street scenes and icy cityscapes of the town 
modeled on Venice. Our final stop was the sub- 
way. The stations are majestic and ornate and the 
escalators, dramatically lit by deco fixtures, dive 
perhaps six stories down. It was the perfect loca- 
tion for shooting a parade of Russian faces (and 
hats). Our producer explained that the subway is 
considered a military installation and is illegal to 
photograph. Its depth is a secret apparently dating 
back to World War II. when Leningrad was heav- 
ily bombed by the Nazis. Still, he offered to get the 
shots, and asked that we wait outside. Just when 
we were convinced they would never return, the 
cameraman reappeared, but our fearless producer 
had been escorted into the subway commander's 
office. What seemed like hours later, he too 
emerged, having smooth-talked his way out of 
another sticky situation. Since we had to decline 
our producer's request to edit the piece with him 
in Moscow, we ended with a long discussion — 
about structure and music, and about themes, 
symbols, and intentions. 

Our final surprise was the jury's award of a 
Silver Prize \oNo Applause. It came with a marble 
and silver statue of a centaur and 1000 noncon- 
vertible rubles. Since we were departing at 8 a.m. 
the next morning, we couldn't spend a single 
ruble — and weren't permitted to exchange them 
for dollars. So we left and the rubles stayed. Still, 
it was a fair exchanse. 





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THE INDEPENDENT 33 



The Barricade Theater. 

where The Thin Blue Line 

appeared, was one of the 

five theaters in town that 

presented films in the 

festival's "informational'' 

section. 

PfKJto MafV Lipson 



Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon are working on 
a biography ofBuckminster Fuller for PBS and a 
film on animal rights for HBO Both were Acad- 
emy Award nominees. Goodman for Children's 
Storefront and Simon for Isaac in America: A 
Journey with Isaac Bashevis Singer. 



Lawrence Sapadin 

AI VF president Robert Richter and I were invited 
to the new Leningrad festival by Sovinterfest. the 
national film festival agency . The Soviets wanted 
to know more about U.S. independent film pro- 
duction. We wanted to find out whether there 
were opportunities for U.S./Soviet coproduction 
and whether AIYF's Festival Bureau could pro- 
mote the entry of independent work in Soviet film 
festi\ als. I had a third interest: to try to make sense 
of perestroika. 

Under perestroika, the Soviet film industry has 
been decentralized. Now semi-autonomous pro- 
duction groups must raise their own funds and 
show a surplus at the end of the year. As a result 
of these new economic demands and the liberali- 
zation of subject matter that can be filmed. So\ iet 
production groups are eager to do business w ith 
foreign filmmakers and distributors. Only they 
are not sure how . They speak enviously of Ameri- 
can business "know -how." 

One of the chief obstacles to doing business 
w ith the Sov iet Union is the nonconvertibility of 
the currency. The ruble is "soft" currency: it 
cannot be exported and is worthless outside the 
Son iet Union. Consequently, business often has 
to be done by barter. Pepsi-Cola, for example, 
sw aps its cola syrup for Stolichnaya vodka, w hich 
it distributes in the United States. Likewise for 
filmmakers interested in coproduction. no money, 
or at leasi no rubles, w ould cross borders. Rather, 
each partner would provide the resources for its 
part in production. They might each then receive 
the earnings from their respective markets. A film 
could be a thoroughly cooperative creative effort, 
but the production would remain rooted in two 
separate and distinct economies. 

Richter and I met with the director of the 
Leningrad festival. Michail Litviakov. todescribe 
how AIVF (and its foundation affiliate. FIVF) 
gathers U.S. independent work for screening and 




selection by foreign festival representatives. This, 
we explained, is a very efficient way to help 
filmmakers and festival representatives overcome 
the linguistic and cultural barriers to festival en- 
try . Our conversation w as interrupted throughout 
by \ odka toasts to greater U.S./USSR cooperation 
and by the exchange of small gifts. 

This paved the w ay for a meeting the follow ing 
day with Yuri Khodjaev. director of Sovinterfest. 
Khodjaev w as eager to begin w orking w ith AIVF 
to gather U.S. independent films for the Moscow 
Festival this summer. Again the problem was 
currency and covering the cost of shipments to the 
USSR. However, in the spirit of glasnost, we 



agreed in principle to go forward, but are still 
working out the details by telex. 

Under perestroika the Soviet Union is contra- 
dictory and surprising. 

• The festival director's interpreter was a young 
man named Nicholas who spoke almost perfect 
"American" English, right down to the slang. He 
told us his goal in life is to become a Top 40 deejay 
in the U.S. 

• One of our interpreters. Irena. turned down an 
opportunity to read some "alternative" U.S. jour- 
nals. She said that she would rather read \ ogue. 
Cosmopolitan, or Mademoiselle. 

• I asked a festival staff person what perestroika 



34 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1989 



meant. He said it meant turning the ruble into hard 
currency on the world market. 

• Variety reports that the Soviet national TV 
network, Gosteleradio, has hired the British-based 
ad agency Saatchi and Saatchi to consult on sell- 
ing advertising time on TV to international com- 
panies. 30-second spots would go for $18,000 to 
$36,000. 

My effort to understand perestroika was a 
failure. I was more confused than before. But I 
was not alone. On the return flight to New York, 
I read that a chief economic advisorto the Kremlin 
leadership had been assigned the task of analyzing 
the central issue forthe 1990s in the Soviet Union: 
"What is socialism and what is property under 
socialism?" For filmmakers, the question will be: 
what is filmmaking under socialism, without the 
constraints of censorship or the dead hand of 
bureaucracy? Judging from the Leningrad festi- 
val, the answer will be worth waiting for. 

Lawrence Sapadin is the executive director of 
AlVF. 



IN BRIEF 



This month's festivals have been 
compiled by Kathryn Bowser, direc- 
tor of the Fl VF Festival Bureau. Listings 
do not constitute an endorsement & 
since some details change fasterthan 
we do, we recommend that you 
contact the festival for further infor- 
mation before sending prints ortapes, 
If your experience differs from our 
account, please let us know so we 
can improve our reliability. 



Domestic 

Aspen Filmfest, Sept. 20-24. CO. Last yr was 1 0th 
anniv. for celebration of US feature & short indepen- 
dent films, held in Rocky Mountain locale. Short sub- 
ject competition awards $2300 in cash prizes based on 
"concept, execution, originality, creativity, style & 
technical excellence." Awards incl. Grand Prize, Colo- 
rado Award. 1st prize. Judges Award. Filmfest Award 
& special recognition awards. All genres accepted. 
Purely instructional & promo films not accepted. En- 
tries must be completed after Jan. I, 1988 & under 30 
min. Entry fee: $15. Format: 35mm, 16mm; preview on 
3/4", 1/2". Deadline: June 20 for short film competition. 
Aug. 15 for other entries. Contact: Jodi Ensign. Aspen 
Filmfest. Box 8910. Aspen. CO 81612: (303) 925- 
6882. 

Hawaii International Film & Video Festival. De- 
cember. HI. 9th edition of fesi that programs work pro- 
moting crosscultural understanding btwn people of 
Asia. Pacific & US. Over 70,000 people attend free 
screenings. Last yr 85 films selected from 1 .000 entries. 



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MAY 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 35 



Features, docs & shorts accepted Selections also iravel 
lo neighbor islands Maui, kau.u. Hawaii I asl >r Best 
ol the Hill- also toured college campuses & commu- 
nity (heaters in CA. Seattle A NM Noncompetitive, but 
otitic I .ivi WestCentei Kwardfot feature best promot- 
ing annual fest theme ot "W hen Strangers Meet" & 
Hit I Documentary Ward, instituted last yr HI is cele- 
brating 200th anni\ ol arrival ol Chinese on island & 
programming committee especially interested in films 
related u< Chinese experience. Academic film sympo- 
sium also held: this yr topic is "Melodrama & Film — 
East & West ' Programmers from several major tests 
attend to preview films Format: 35mm, 16mm, 3 4 . I 
2'. Beta Deadline: Jul) I Contact: Jeannette Paulson, 
coordinator, Hawaii International Film Festival, Easi- 
Wesi Center. Institute of Culture & Communication, 
1777 East-West Rd.. Honolulu. HI 96848; (808)944- 
lelex 1 WCAD 7430119. 

Margaret Mead Film Festival. November, NY. 
Sociological, anthropological & cultural topics arc 
backbone of major ethno-doc test, founded b) i: named 
in honor of anthropologist/filmmaker Mead. Now m 
13th yr. test annual I) programs over 50 films, w/ 
majority premieres from se\eral continents. Last yr 
groupings of films mcl. cultural encounters, women's 
\oices. man & nature, parent & child, ritual & celebra- 
ton. portraits of passion, cultural continuity . coming of 
age. pride & prejudice. Most directors attend & intro- 
duce films. Format: 35mm, 16mm: pre\ iew on cassette. 
Deadline: June 30. Contact: Malcolm Arth. Margaret 
Mead Film Festival, American Museum of Natural 
History. 79th St. & Central Park W. New York. NY 
10024: (212) 873-1070. 

Mill Valley Film & Video Festiv \i Oct. 5-12. CA. 
"Small-town intimacy" describes atmosphere at 8-day 
noncompetitive test specializing in independent films, 
now beginning 12th season. Last yr 44 films, nat'l & 
int'l (several premieresi. shown to audiences of mer 
17.000 in several sold-out screenings. Several pro- 
grams introduced by director, producer, or cast mem- 
bers. Reps from many major &. specialt) distributors 
attended. Program features seminars, tributes & music 
events, as well as 3-da> videofest. Accepts features, 
short (up to fit) mm. i. docs & narrative/experimental/ 
animated shorts iup to 15 min.) to play w/ features. 
Format: 35mm. 16mm. 3/4". 1/2". Deadline: June 30. 
Contact: Man. Pottier. assoc director of programming. 
Mill Valley Film & Video Festival. NO Lomita Dr.. Ste 
20. Mill Valley. CA 94941: (415) 383-5256. 

Ni w York Film Festiv u . Sept. 22-Oct. 9. NY Now 
in 27th v r presenting eclectic program of int'l trends to 
N't' audiences, well-respected noncompetitive NYFF 
has traditional!) served as premiere venue for partici- 
pating filmmakers. Program constructed from approx. 
25 films selected from dramatic, doc. animated short & 
experimental entries shown at other int'l tests during 
previous yr or superlative new productions. Last yr 
program dominated bv films from 3d World & Eastern 
Europe & also featured combination of 4 avant-garde 
films in 1 program. Nearly all tickets for test sold out in 
advance. Program committee chair is Richard Pefia. 
program director of Lincoln Center Film Society now in 
2nd v rat the post, w members Wendy Kevsof the Film 
Society & film critics Carrie Rickey. David Sterritt & 
Philip Lopate. Fest also has a consultant for IS ind. 
films. Selections must be IS premieres w/ no prior 
public, theatrical or commercial exhibition or distribu- 
tion. Deadlines: feature-length films (20 min. &. oven. 
Jul> 3: shorts (under 20 min.). July 14. Format: 35mm. 



16mm: preview on '4 & 1/2 Contact: Marian Ma- 
sone. Film Society of Lincoln Center. 140 \V. 65th St.. 
New York. NY 10023; (212)877-1800. 

Rohiki FLAHERT) Film Simisvk Aug. 12-19. NY 
Over the vrs. Flaherty alumni have described the inten- 
sity ot this seminar as "unparalleled experience." 
"exhilarating." "exhausting." Now in 35th vr. week- 
long seminar, held on Wells College campus in central 
NYS. promises to probe and analyze content of film/ 
v ideomaking, to "bring participants into close contact: 
w spev.iik films & tapes that have reached out to touch 
human spirit i: (hen to put them into down-to-earth 
communication w/the people who made these films, to 
illuminate how the films came into being." Filmmakers 
from around the world engage in round-the-clock cri- 
tique of works chosen bv a different programmer each 
yr. Selections not announced until screening time. Dead- 
line: June I. Contact: Esme Dick, administrative direc- 
tor. International Film Seminars. 44 W. 56th St.. 3rd fl.. 
New York. NY 10019; (212) 582-0273. 



Foreign 



Canadian International Amateur Fii \i Festival, 

November. Canada. Open to nonprofessional prods in 
3 cats: amateur (no prof, assistance or financial object), 
independent (some professional help i. preprofessional 
film students i enrol led in film school, usually at col lege 
level i. Awards: best Canadian entry . best scenario, best 
doc. best natural sciences, best animation, best experi- 
mental, besi edited, most humorous, best film bv age 
16-19. best film bv teen under 16. Max. running time: 
30 min. Entrv fee: SI 5 Canadian. Format: 1 6mm. super 
8. 8mm. 3/4". 1/2". Beta. Deadline: June I. Contact: 
B.V.W. Andrews. Festival Canadien International du 
Film d'Art. 25 Eugenia St.. Barrie. Ontario. Canada 
L4M 1P6: (705)737-2729. 

Cork Intrrwtiowl Film Fbsm u_ September. Ire- 
land. One of 2 major tests in Ireland. Cork programs 
wide int'l panorama of dramatic, doc. experimental, 
animated & shorts & presents significant opportunity 
for screening ind. work in Ireland. Fest now in 34th yr. 
Competition section for shorts only. Work must be 
produced in 12 months prior to test. Format: 35mm. 
16mm. Deadline: June 30. Contact: Michael Hannigan/ 
Theo Dorgan. directors. Cork International Film Festi- 
val. Triskel Arts Center Tobin St.. Cork. Ireland: tel: 
(021 ) 27171 1/275944: telex: 75390. 

Moscow International Film Festival. July 8-17. 
USSR. Major biennial competition (alternating w/ 
Karlovy Vary in Czechoslovakia) for feature fiction 
films. now in 16th vr. Last edition presented in spirit of 
qlasnost/pereslroika & in midst of extensive Soviet 
film industry reforms. 35mm & 70mm films eligible tor 
feature competition if not yet presented in another int'l 
test competition, under 1 20 min. & completed after July 
1987. One film per country selected: last time 27 films 
competed. Short film competition: each country pres- 
ents program of 35mm & 16mm shorts (short features. 
docs, popular science A: animation) w/ running time 
under 45 mm. & completed after July 1987. Shons 
awarded at other tests not eligible. Int'l jury awards: 
Grand Prix. Special Prize. Best Actor/Actress i feature i: 
2 Gold Awards. 3 Silver Awards (shorts). Fest also has 
panorama i information i section, retros & market. Over 
1600 guests <\; | |() countries participated last time. 
Deadline: June I. Contact: Yuri Khodjaev. director. 
LSSR State Committee for Cinematography /Director- 
ate of International Film Festivals <k Exhibitions (SOV- 



1NTERFEST). 10. Khokhlovsky Per.. Moscow 109028. 
I SSR: tel: 227-89-24: telex: 41 1263 FEST SU. 

FIVF's Festival Bureau may cooperate w/ Moscow 
fesi m selection of U.S. entries, collecting preview cas- 
settes &: handling shipping arrangements. For further 
info, contact: Kathrvn Bowser. FIVE. 625 Broadway. 
9th Fl.. New York. NY 10012; (2 12) 473-3400. as soon 
as possible. 

Pvkmv International Medical a Scientific Film 

Fi sii\ x! Nov. 21-26. Italy. 4th edition of competitive 
test that "amis to present the best worldwide scientific 
film works. ..in the field of scientific didactics, health & 
ecologic education." Sections: medical & scientific 
research & updating (biomedical sciences, medicine & 
medical specialties, surgery & surgical specialties), 
health ed (safety in home & workplace, prevention of 
infectious & degenerativ e diseases, mental health, drug 
dependencies, handicaps, organization of health serv- 
ices), ecology &. health (environmental impact, indus- 
trial &. environmental risks, controls & technical solu- 
tions i. 1989 special cats: nutrition (food production, 
pesticides, bioengineering. etc.) & cancer (information 
& prevention). Grand Prix awarded in each section & 
special cat. Other awards: WHO Golden Award to best 
health ed film: special awards to best films on biomedi- 
cal sciences, special istic medicine, general medicine. 
specialistic surgery, surgery, safety in home & work- 
places, infectious & degenerative diseases, mental 
health, drug problems, handicaps, organization of health 
serx ices.env ironmental impact, industrial/environmen- 
tal risk, controls & technical solutions. Certificates of 
merit for script, direction, photography, editing, anima- 
tion, special effects, sound. 

FIVF will coordinate screening & shipment of en- 
tries io Italy. AIVF president Robert Richterwill screen 
& make recommendations for test. Entries must be 
completed in previous 3 yrs. Format: 3/4". 35mm. 
16mm: preselection on 1/2". For further info& applica- 
tions, contact Robert Richter or Kathry n Bow ser. FIVF 
Festival Bureau/Parma Festival. 625 Broadway. 9th fl.. 
New York. NY 10012; (212)473-3400. Deadline: July 
I . Address in Italy ( for reference, fest has requested that 
IS entries be coordinated by Richter): Medikinale 
International Parma, via Garibaldi n. I. 43100 Parma. 
Italy; tel: (0521) 37792-285554-36865: telex: 531518 
sprint I for MIP: fax: (0521 > 285858. 



FIVF TAPE LIBRARY 

The FIVF Festival Bureau has estab- 
lished a tape library of members* current 
works to expedite screenings for up- 
coming film and video festivals. 1/2" 
and 3/4" tapes will be accepted. Mem- 
bers interested in depositing their work 
in the library should contact: Kathryn 
Bou ser. Festival Bureau director. FIVF. 
625 Broadway. 9th floor. New York. 
NY 10012,(212)473-3400. 



36 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1989 



IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 





In Vienna Is Different: 50 
Years after the Anschluss 
Susan Korda and David 
Leitner examine Vienna's 
period of soul-searching 
against the backdrop of 
the Waldheim controversy 
on the fiftieth anniversary 
of Hitler's annexation of 
Austria. 



Courtesy filmmakers 



Renee Tajima 



The versatile dancer-musician-poet-videomaker 
Mary Easter has completed a 19-minute tape 
entitled Some People, which is now available for 
distribution through Intermedia Arts Minnesota. 
The work interweaves dancing and storytelling 
vignettes as a means of exploring the private 
stories of several seemingly commonplace people. 
Easter describes the tape this way: "In nonlinear 
fashion, the video looks at moments in the lives of 
seven Black characters, ordinary people calling 
on their considerable resources of imagination 
and perseverance to enrich their lives. Through 
movement, monologues, and song, their stories 
are revealed as realities overlap and memories 
intertwine." Some People is available on 3/4" 
video and VHS. Some People: Intermedia Arts, 
425 Ontario St.. S.E.. Minneapolis. MN 55414; 
(612)627-4444. 

Dance is also the focus of Grand Central 
Dances, a television special featuring perform- 
ances in New York's Grand Central Terminal by 
The Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Lu- 
anda Childs Company, juggler Michael Mos- 
chen. highwire artist Philip Petit, and others. The 
program, produced and directed by Norris J. 
Chumley. is a visual narrative and performance 
piece, as seen and heard through the words, im- 
ages, choreography, and rhythms of the partici- 
pants. The tape is based on the event of the same 
name, originally produced by Dancing in the 
Streets. Chumley and coproducer Donna Drewes 
received a postproduction grant from the National 
Endowment for the Arts to complete the piece, 
which is made possible with additional assistance 
from WNET/Thirteen and the Downtown Com- 
munity TV Center. Grand Central Dances: Mag- 
netic Arts. 20 Desbrosses St., New York, NY 
10013; tel: (212)941-7720; fax: (212) 226-8096. 



In his lonely apartment, a young filmmaker 
works feverishly to complete what he hopes will 
be his masterpiece — a "psychedelic western" in 
which the Evil Gunfighter kills the Good Gun- 
fighter as the beautiful Damsel looks on in dis- 
tress. But every edit of the film seems a failure, the 
Filmmaker drinks heavily in anticipation of his 
own fall, and to top it off, he has a fight with his 
girlfriend. In John Perez' new 18-minute narra- 
tive. The Existential Gunfighter, art, reality , and 
dreams merge in the life of the young Filmmaker, 
played by a real young filmmaker, E. Francis 
Donnelly. In Perez' script, the Filmmaker pursues 
his angry Girlfriend (Jamie Kinser). but in a 
nightmarish slumber she is transformed into the 
Evil Gunfighter, stalking him in bed. Perez shot 
The Existential Gunfighter around New York 
City and completed it over a period of two years. 
The Existential Gunfighter: Pug Pictures; (212) 
927-9062. 

Milwaukee-based media artist Rob Danielson 
and sculptor Terese Agnew have mounted Sal- 
vage Lounge: Of Product by Public, a multi- 
media installation work-in-progress, at the Hall- 
walls Contemporary Arts Center in Buffalo, New 
York. The result of a five-week residency at the 
center. Salvage Lounge includes 1 1 channels of 
video, ranging from interviews to eavesdropping 
and material taped in various work environments. 
The artists enlisted the participation of local people 
involved in salvage — haulers, "scrappers." sal- 
vage and tire companies, junkyards, volunteers, 
and Buffalo's Department of Streets and Sanita- 
tion — to collect the material for the piece. The 
installation itself consisted of a structure of found 
objects and video. Salvage Lounge: Rob Daniel- 
son. 2075 S. 13th St.. Milwaukee. WI 53204; 
(414) 384-7083. 

The Boston Film Collective has just completed 
Finding Our Way — Men Talk about Their 
Sexuality, a videotape that asks the questions: 



What do men like about their sexuality? How did 
they learn about sex? What do men really want 
sexually? How does sexual expression change 
with age? In order to examine these questions, the 
producers gathered 1 2 men at a weekend retreat to 
talk about their sexual selves. They ranged in age 
from 27 to 71 and came from different walks of 
life — a writer, an insurance agent, a clergyman, 
the owner of a dry cleaning store — and were he- 
terosexual, gay. and bisexual. This diversity pro- 
vided a dialogue, culminating in a discussion of 
the effects of age on sexuality. In it, one older man 
discusses the pain surrounding his sexual decline, 
while another describes precisely the opposite — 
how his sexuality became richer and all-encom- 
passing after the age of 65. The producers of 
Finding Our Way view the tape as a step toward 
creating new role models and moving beyond 
one-dimensional stereotypes of men. It was pro- 
duced over a four-year period by the Cooperative, 
a group of seven men that includes filmmakers 
Nicolas Kaufman, Mark Lipman. and BestorCram. 
FindingOurWay: Kaufman Productions, 40 Clyde 
St., Newtonville, MA02160. 

Into the Great Solitude, a new film by Chris- 
topher Knight, will air on public television sta- 
tions this May on the Adventure series. The 57- 
minute work is a film journal of naturalist-author 
Rob Perkin's 700-mile solo canoe voyage down 
the remote Back River in the Northwest Territo- 
ries of Canada. Alone for 72 days in the tundra, 
Perkins recorded his own journey using tech- 
niques and cameras especially adapted by Knight 
for the project. With this approach, the film at- 
tempts to achieve an intimacy with the viewer, 
who shares Perkins' physical journey through the 
unusual Arctic landscape and follows his inner- 
most thoughts and feelings about the land, the 
wild animals he encounters, and his relationship 
with his father who was gravely ill as he embarked 
on the voyage. Into the Great Solitude is Knight's 
third film featuring solo adventurers, including 
American Challenge and Around Alone: Into the 
Great Solitude: The New Film Company, 7 Mystic 
St., Arlington. MA 02174; (617) 641-2580. 

New York-based filmmakers Susan Korda and 
David Leitner premiered Vienna Is Different: 50 
Years After the Anschluss at the International 



AIVF members are invited to submit 
detailed information about film/video 
work that is in production or has re- 
cently been completed for inclusion 
in In and Out of Production. Send 
descriptions and black and white 
photographs to: The Independent, 
625 Broadway, 9th fl., New York, NY 
10012, Attn: In and Out of Produc- 
tion. 



MAY 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 37 



Forum ol Young Cinema ol the 1989 Berlin 
lntcrn.iiioii.il Film rcsii\ al in Februar) Rimed in 
Vienna during March of lasi year, against the 
backdrop ol both the Waldheim controversy and 
the fiftieth anniversary ofthe Anschluss — Hitler's 
annexation ol Austria — \ ienna A Different de- 
picts Austrians addressing a past that has been 
suppressed and denied Declared b\ the Allies to 
be a victim ol Nazi aggression, Austria evaded 
postwar scrutin) of Us role in Hitler's war. But 
Kurt Waldheim *s election as Austrian president 
brought this "honeymoon" to an end. Shot in 
cites, on the street, al public demonstrations. 
official receptions, cabarets, and theater perform- 
ances, the 75-minute film also uses clips from 
telev i sum and radio to explore the countn 's month 
of soul-searching. \ ienna h Different. Leitmotif 
Filmproduction, 280 Mulberry St., New York. 
N\ 10012; (212) 966-4348. 

Former stand-up comic meets social issue docu- 
mentarian in (iuerilla Art. a half-hour film fea- 
turing New York's self-proclaimed "conscience 
ofthe an world." the Guerilla Girls. As the prices 
of artw ork soar to an all-time high. so. it seems, do 
incidences of discrimination against women and 
artists of color within the an industry. The Guer- 
illa Girls engage in the controversial tactic of 
postering neighborhoods with incriminating sta- 
tistics — tor example, only four New York galler- 
ies showed the work of Black women artists 
during the I986-S7 season, and women anists 
earn one-third the revenue of their male counter- 




parts. The group is currently entering production 
of a live-minute trailer for the film, featuring artist 
Mark Kostabi, who views the art industry as a 
strictly merit-based one and prov ides the focus for 
interviews with curators, gallery owners, and 
"successful'' anists. Seed money for the project 
was prov ided by Art Matters and the fiscal spon- 
sor is Women Make Movies. Guerilla Art is 
produced and directed by Amy Harrison and 
w ritten b\ Margaret A. Herbig. Guerilla. Art: Amy 
Harrison. Guerilla An Productions, c/o Store East. 
304 E. 5th St.. New York. NY 10003; (212) 254- 
8890: 598-9190. 

Baltimore-based filmaker Peter Walsh has just 
completed Picture of Me. a 3-minute 16mm 
shon. Using home movies, altered frame anima- 
tion, a non-narrative structure and soundtrack, 
and found media images. Walsh discusses the 
relationships between sexuality, sensuality, gen- 
der, and mass media. Picture of Me premiered in 



Southern California is one of the 
spots from around that world where 
Jayce Salloum shot on location for 
his video Once You've Shot the Gun 
You Can't Stop the Bullet. 

Courtesy videomakef 



February at the Art Artie in Baltimore. Picture of 
\/< : Khameleon Film and Video. 1536 William 
St.. Baltimore. MD 21230: (301 ) 539-0867. 

Using live footage filmed around the world 
ov era period of three years, independent producer 
Jayce Salloum has produced Once You've Shot 
the Gun You Can't Stop the Bullet, a seven- 
minute videotape edited from super 8 film and 
8mm videotape original material. The piece is de- 
scribed by Salloum as one that "weaves itself in 
and out of experiences of differentiation and dis- 
tance, closeness and otherness, and questions of 
discourse and construction in the viewing and 
constitution ofthe subject." He shot it on location 
in as far-flung places as Beirut. Bikfay a. Byblos. 
Jerusalem. Jouni. Kelowna. La Jolla. Las Vegas, 
Limosol. Los Angeles. Mesa. New York. Port- 
land, and Tijuana. Once You've Shot the Gun was 
commissioned by the Long Beach Museum of Art 
as part of its 1 988 Open Channels program. Once 
You've Shot the Gun: Jayce Salloum. 384 Broad- 
way. New York. NY 1001 3: (2 12) 260-7802: 226- 
9582. 



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SIXTH ANNUAL 

ATLANTIC FILM & VIDEO 
PRODUCERS CONFERENCE 

STANHOPE-BY-THE-SEA 
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, CANADA 

JUNE 22-25, 1989 

YOU ARE INVITED TO ATTEND 



For further information 
please contact: 

PETER RICHARDS, COORDINATOR 

ATLANTIC FILM & VIDEO 

PRODUCERS CONFERENCE 

PO BOX 2726 

CHARLOTTETOWN 

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, CANADA 

C1A8C3 

TELEPHONE: (902) 892-3131 
FAX: (902) 566-1724 



38 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1989 




T 



HE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO 
AND FILMMAKERS MEANS: 



• Comprehensive health, disability, life, and equipment insurance at affordable rates 

• Festival Bureau: your inside track to over 400 international and domestic film and video festivals 

• Advocacy in government, industry, and public forums to increase support for independent production 

• Seminars on business, technical, and aesthetic issues 

• Discounts on professional services, including car rental, film labs, post-production facilities & equipment rental 
AND 

• A subscription to THE INDEPENDENT Film and Video Monthly, the only national film and video magazine 
tailored to your needs (10 issues per year) 




diversified catalogue 

of information for 

all your film 

and video 

needs. 



wealth of information is now available 
to you through AIVF by mail or in 
person. Our book/tape list covers practically every facet of the field. 
Subjects covered are production, fundraising, legal, screenwriting, 
technical, super 8, lighting, audio, public tv, cable, video, copyright, dis- 
tribution, political and more. 




Complete the other side of this card and 
mail to AIVF to receive a complete list of 
books and tapes available or call us at 
212-473-3400. 



K'-lV 



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oin AIVF Today and Get a One- Year Subscription to 
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CLASSIFIEDS 



The Independent's Classifieds column 
includes all listings for "Buy • Rent • 
Sell," "Freelancers" & "Postproduc- 
tion" categories. It is restricted to 
members only. Each entry has a 250 
character limit & costs $20 per issue. 
Ads exceeding this length will be 
edited. Payment must be made at 
the time of submission. Anyone wish- 
ing to run a classified ad more than 
once must pay for each insertion & 
indicate the number of insertions on 
the submitted copy. Each classified 
ad must be typed, double-spaced & 
worded exactly as it should appear. 
Deadlines for Classifieds will be re- 
spected. These are the 8th of each 
month, two months prior to the cover 
date, e.g., May 8 for the July issue. 
Make check or money order — no 
cash, please — payable to FIVF, 625 
Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 
10012. 



Buy • Rent • Sell 



For Sale: Arriflex S/B w/ APEC. con. & var. spd. 
motors. Cine 60 batt.. Ang. 12-120, Ang. 5.9, Schn. 10. 
25, 50. Tiffen, case. Zeiss Moviscope. Ediquip amp. 
Moviola, sync block & rewinds, Bolex spier. Eiki proj. 
w/ rec. S4.100. pkg or sep. Jerry (203) 359-8992. 

For Rent in your space: Complete Sony 5850, 5800, 
RM440 off-line. Anvil cases fold out to form convenient 
table, cutting space. Reasonable rate. For Sale: 8-plate 
Steenbeck. 1000' rewind, reinforced handles. VG cond. 
Must sell. $!0.500/b.o. (914) 478-0518. 

Paint & Animation Package: Lumena 16 paint box, 
tiller, animator, video tools, tips, artwork, etc. (worth 
over $50,000) will let go for $15,000 or best offer. Can 
divide. Also BCD. Targa, VVP. Call Ed (212) 228- 
4024. 

Bolex Animation JK motor, 16mm rflx, JK controller, 
frxbr, frwd. rev, cont, programmer, all $1500. (212) 
228-4024. 

Angenielx 12/120 zoom. C-mount. Make an offer. 
(212) 228-4024. 

For Sale: Tamron Fotovix. Japanese model, converts 
slides & negs to video (b&w or color). Zoom, pan, color 
correct, auto fade. 20 hrs. use, $2,300 new. Asking 
$1,100 or b.O. Miss Doria. (718)383-6176. 

Bly Cheaper Than Rental Cinema Products CP-16 
camera w/ Angenieux I 2- 1 20 zoom, 2 mags, on-board 
battery, filters, case $ 1 500 firm. Tripod, accessories also 
available. Reid (804) 979-4724. 

Braun Nizo 6080 S8 w/ crystal by S8 Sound. W/A lens. 
2 batts & chgr. exc++, $ 1 .850. Nikon R- 1 S8 camera w/ 
effects. Mint cond. W/case $850. Nikon 8x S8 zoom. 1 - 
1 8-24 fps w/ manual iris. Gt lens. exc++, S200. Zie Mark 
optical bi-plexer. $1200. (401 ) 274-5371. 



Freelancers 

Experienced Attorney to care for your personal and 
business related legal matters. General practice in- 
cludes negotiation and review of contracts, litigation, 
real estate, negligence and medical malpractice. Free 
consultation. Peter Foster (212) 254-9368. 

Network Credited director, videographer w/ Sony 
broadcast 3/4", 3/4" SP. & Beta pkgs from $300/day. 
Rental or experienced crews avail. Also complete pro- 
duction services incl. producing, directing & VO cast- 
ing. Michael, Ml-RO Productions, (212) 757-7654. 

Prod. Contacts monthly newsletter listing SAG & 
nonunion films in pre-prod. in US. Lists producers 
seeking talent & services for upcoming films. S39.95/ 
yr. Sample: $5. National Film Sources, 10 E. 39 St., 
# 1 1 7, NYC 1 00 1 6: (800) 222-3844, credit card orders. 

3/4" Video Production: 3-tube Sony cameras, tripods, 
lights, audio, van, experienced cameraman. Very rea- 
sonable rates. Smart Video (212) 877-5545. 

Betacam $350/day w/ tripod, lights, radio mics. and 
technician. 3/4" editing w/ editor $25/hr. Incl. digital 
FX. Amiga 2000 char. gen., live camera, TC reader. S- 
VHS Camcorder shoot w/ cameraman S190/day. Elec- 
tronic Visions (212) 691-0375 

Betacam SP w/ complete remote package (including 
Vinten tripod, radio/shot mics, award-winning camera- 
man, transportation) available for your independent 
production. Call Hal at (201 ) 662-7526. 

Director of PHOTOGRAPHYavailable for dramatic films, 
16 or 35mm productions of any length. Call to see my 
reel. John (201)783-7360. 

Full 3/4" & Betacam prod, pkgs avail. Ikegami cam- 
eras, Sony decks, full sound & light gear. Best ENG 
crew in the city. Multi camera shoots. We've done it all 
& w/ the best. RAI (Italy), La Cinque (Paris), WTN 
(NYC). CBS (NYC). David Wallace (212) 594-7530. 

Sound Recordist/Sound Editor: complete Nagra 
package w/ mikes. Own Steenbeck editing room for 
sound cutting jobs. Lots of experience in doc & narra- 
tive. Good rates. Cathy Calderon (212) 580-2075. 

Whatever Youre Looking For, I can find. Call or 
write for brochure. Design Research. Dept. B. Box 
1503, Bandor ME. 04401: (207) 941-0838. 

Production Stills: top of the line 35mm production 
stills taken directly from 16mm film! Call Ralph at 
(718) 284-0223. 

Looking for Help ■ Are the odds against you? Give me 
a call on your next film or video production. I have the 
equipment and the experience to get the job done! Call 
Ralph at (718) 284-0223. 

Production Manager, low-budget specialist w/ 50 
screen credits avail, to do budget and consultation on 
your project for financing or pre-production. Fee based 
on requirements. Stan Bickman (212) 688-7444. 

Video Production 1/2". 3/4" and 1" masters — studio 
or location. Equipment rentals. 1/2" and 3/4" dubs. Film 
to tape transfers. Call Videoplex at (212) 807-821 I. 

Film Search: We obtain hard-to-find films (pre-1970) 
on tape. We are expensive, but good. 5 searches for $5 



EDITING COSTS 
RUN AMOK? 

BUDGETS IN CHAOS? 

There is an alternative! 

Regain control of your project 
creatively and financially. 

Edit it yourself on VHS 
at 29th Street Video. 

□ New JVC BR 8600/RM 86-U 
System 

□ SEG 

□ VHS Duplication 

□ Optional Character Generator 

□ SMPTE Burn-ins available 

□ Low Rates 




STREET VIDEO, INC. 

Call us at (212) 594-7530. 
We're committed to your success. 



SPRING SALE 

FREQUENCY DISCOUNTS 
FOR CLASSIFIED ADS 
IN THE INDEPENDENT 

FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY, 
SAVE ON MULTIPLE CLASSIFIED ADS: 

3x 6% off* $56.40 vs$60 

4x 8%off = $73.60 vs$80 

5x 10% off = $90.00 vs$100 

6x 12% off* $105.60 vs$120 

7x 14% off = $120.40 vs$140 

8x 16% off = $134.40 vs$160 

9x 187o0ff= $147.60 vs$180 

lOx 20% off = $160.00 vs$200 

To take advantage of this sale, send 
your ad — with no more than 250 
characters — and a check (pay- 
able to FIVF) to: Classifieds, The Inde- 
pendent, 625 Broadway, 9th floor. 
New York, NY 10012. Before May 8th. 



MAY 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 39 



-v S \M Video Finders. Box 435 1 -453ind.L.A CA 
90078 

hi mi ki Fm m in inmal stages ol pre-production seek- 
ing actors \ lull crew production manager, director o( 
photography, sound, special FX, makeup, etc. Send 
resume A. viI.iia requirements to: Highlite, 415 N 8th 
Scranton, P\ 18503, Absolutely no phone calls. 

Sound Mvs Antonio Arroyo. Nagra, Sennheisers, 
Micron Radio equipment. Feature i documentary 
credits. Bilingual & passport. For booking call Ann at 
O M crews (212) 620 

Help for nil Low-Budget Prodi mos Production 
company available for management, insurance, cine- 
matography, 16mm editing facilities. Match our serv- 
ices u your needs. KENT-DAVIE (212) 645-6023 

: -i & S-\ HS well-maintained equipment with opera- 
tor. For per diem rates call Kingsle) Allison (212)519- 
6304. 

CwttR kman w ith own equipment available. 16 SR. 35 
BL. superspeed lenses, sound equipment, lighting van. 
passport, certified scuba diver, speak French, a little 
Spanish. Call (212)929-7728. 

Aw \Ri) Winning Videogr \pmi r w, Son> DXC 3000, 

3 chip camera. Sennheiser sound, complete broadcast 
package Experienced w/ news gathering, documenta- 
ries, dance, industrials & editing. Call John for rates: 
Ego Video (212) 475-6550. 

FILM Editor Documentary or dramatic film. Reel. 3/4" 
or VHS upon request. Call Jack Walz (609) 893-7817 

or write Bo\ ^96. Browns Mills. NJ 0X015-0796. 



Bi t vi v\i Pv(k\(.i — w/ tripod, lights, mics, award- 
winning cameraman, crew & transportation- avail- 
able tor your project at great rates Fast and reliable. 
Broadcast quality. Call Eric (718)699-3485. 

Editor/Sound Editor w features, doc & industrial 
exp avail, tor your independent project. Owns off-line 

editing system, Steenbeck. digital sound equip. & great 
sound FX library . Clean, last & organized. Credits incl. 
award-winning films. Flexible rates. (718) 699-3485. 

ClNEMATOCRAPHER w/ 4 features & documentary 
commercial credits avail, for film or video projects of 
any length. Strong visual sense & excellent lighting. 
Ow n equipment at a reasonable rate v ou can afford. Call 
lor demo: Eric (718) 6W-34X5. 

3 Chips on the Shol ldkr Multi-award w inning cine/ 
videographer w / Sony DXC M7. B VW-35 Beta SP. AG 
"4(H) S-YHS. Sachtler. Sennheiser. lowels. station 
wagon, the works. "A class act" at competitive rates. 
Supreme Videos. Tony (212) 753-1050. 



Postproduction 



Bob Brodsky & Tom Treadw ay Super 8 & 8mm 
film-to-video mastering w/ scene-by-scene color cor- 
rection to 1". Betacam & 3/4". By appointment only. 
Call (617) 666-3372. 

Negative Matching 16mm. super 16. 35mm. Credits 
include Jim Jarmusch. Wim Wenders. Lizzie Borden & 
Bruce Weber. Reliable results at reasonable rates. One 
White Glove. Tim Brennan. 32 1 W. 44th St.. #41 I. New 
York. NY 10036: (212) 265-0787. 



Brovix \si Qi xi.iti EDITING Edit from Betacam. 3/4" 
or 3/4" SP. S99/hr including operator, switcher, slo-mo. 
50 < discount on DVE for AIVF members. Call HDTV 
Enterprises. Inc.. near Lincoln Center (2I2i X74-4524. 

16mm Ft VTBEDS i ok Rf.Ni 6-plate flatbeds for rent in 
your workspace or fully equipped downtown editing 
room w/ 24-hour access. Cheapest rates in NYC for 
independent filmmakers. Call Philmaster Productions 
(212) X73-4470. 

3/4" Professional Videotape Editing Sony decks. 
TBC. color correct, full sound EQ. more. When you 
need an editor w ho is both good & fast, call 29th Street 
Video. (212) 594-7530. Also VHS off-line editing w/ 
wipes, fades, etc. From $20/hr. Call for appt. 

Si per X 24 fps transfers: scene-by-scene color correc- 
tion w/CCDtelecine.Sony 700 Color Corrector w/ hue. 
phase, gamma comp. neg-pos reversing, b&w tinting. 
etc.. Tascam & Dolby C. S 1 -3/min. 1/2". 3/4" & 3/4" SP 
+ stock. $25/min. Gerard Yates (203) 359-8992. 

Hession-Zieman Prod We make Betacam look like 
film using Sony BVW507 bdest high resol. Betacam & 
Betacam SPw/complete off-line, on-line postprod. ser- 
vices. Field prod. & rental pkgs to suit your doc. indus.. 
music video or commercial project. (212) 529-1254. 

I 6mm Ci tting Rooms. 8-plate & 6-plate fully equipped 
rooms, sound transfer facilities. 24-hr access. Down- 
town, near all subways and Canal St. Reasonable, 
negotiable rates. (212) 925-1500. 

Oef Line with Time Code: Sony 3/4" at low rates. 
Spacious suite downtown at Union Square. Realis Pix. 
(212)505-1911. PhilZwickler. 



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Help Yourself. Join AIVF today! 







AYfe 



Call or write: 

625 Broadway. 9th floor 

New York. NY 100I2 

(212) 473-3400 



• THE INDEPENDENT the only national 
magazine devoted exclusively to indepen- 
dent film and video production 

• Insurance: Group life, medical, disability 
and equipment insurance at affordable 
rates, plus dental insurance for New York 
and New Jersev residents 

• Festival Bureau, with current information 
on over 400 international and domestic film 
and video festivals, and screenings of your 
work for visiting festival directors 

• Advocacy in government, industry, and 
public forums to increase support for inde- 
pendent production 

• Seminars on business, technical, and aes- 
thetic issues (audio recordings available) 

• Discounts on professional services, includ- 
ing car rental, film labs, postproduction 
facilities, and equipment rental 

• Free semi-annual copies of Motion Picture 
TV & Theatre Directory (S6.95 value) 

Join AIVF today and get a one-vear subscription to THE 
INDEPENDENT. Yearly membership rales are S45 individ- 
ual (add Si: for firs! class mailing ol THE INDEPEN- 
DENT!. S25 student (enclose proof of student IDi: S60 
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Visa i. call (212)473-3400. Or send check or money order to 
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Contact: Matt Clarke 
or Jeff Byrd 



The Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers 



40 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1989 



NOTICES 



Notices are listed free of charge. AIVF 
members receive first priority; others 
are included as space permits. The 
Independent reserves the right to edit 
for length. 

Deadlines for Notices will be re- 
spected. These are the 8th of the 
month, two months prior to cover 
date, e.g., May 8 for the July issue. 
Send to: Independent Notices, FIVF, 
625 Broadway, New York, NY 10012. 



Conferences • Workshops 

Yellowstone Summer Film/Video Institute at 
Montana State Univ. incls workshops, screenings & 
group sessions. Credit or noncredit registration. Script- 
writing. June 12-23; Directing. June 19-23: Native 
Amer. Film & Video. June 26-30: Autobiographical & 
Personal Film. June 26-30: Scandinavian Film & TV. 
June 26-July 7. Contact: Extended Studies. Montana 
State Univ.. Bozeman, MT 59717: (406) 994-6683. 

6th Annual Atlantic Film & Video Prodi cers Con- 
ference: June 22. 25 at Stanhope-by-the-Sea. Prince 
Edward Island. Canada, sponsored by Island Media 
Arts Co-op. Conf. provides forum tor ind. producers in 
Atlantic region of Canada to meet w/ reps from industry 
in N. Amer. and abroad. Seminars inch distribution, 
publicity, script development & regional industry de- 
velopment & resources. Contact: Peter Richards. Coor- 
dinator. Atlantic Film & Video Producers Conf.. Box 
2726. Charlottetown. PEL Canada. CIA 8C3: Tel: 
(902) 892-3131; Fax: (902) 566-1724. 

Grant Proposal Writing Grantsmanship Center offers 
3-day "total immersion workshop" in program plan- 
ning & proposal writing. Tuition: S395: w/ S50 dis- 
count for additional registrant from same agency. 
Contact: Program Registrar. Grantsmanship Or.. 650 
So. Spring St.. Ste. 507; Box 6210. Los Angeles. CA 
90014; (800)421-9512: (213)689-9222. 

Arts Management Institute provides training to staff 
& board members of arts orgs, incl. budgeting, fund- 
raising, human resources mgmt.. marketing, planning 
& studies of boards. Fee: $500 incl. lodging, meals & 
sessions. Scholarships avail. forN. Carolina applicants. 
Contact: Arts Mgmt Institute. Extension & Continuing 
Educ. CB#3420 Abernathy Hall. UNC-Chapel Hill. 
Chapel Hill. NC 27599-3420. 

Natt. Assn of Telecommunications Officers & 
Advisors 1989 Regional Conferences: Portland. OR. 
May 4-6; Albany. NY. June 8-10. Contact: NATOA 
Regional Telecommunications Conf.. Nat'l League of 
Cities. 1301 Pennsylvania Ave.. NW. Washington. 
D.C. 20004; (202)626-3160. 

Making \ Good Script Great 2-day seminar on 
successful scriptwriting led by Linda Seger & spon- 
sored by Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Univ. Out- 
reach. Participants learn to build story structure, ideas 
& characters while giving clarity to writing. Held in 
Dallas. June 3-4. Fee: $165. Contact: University Out- 
reach: (414) 227-3236. 

Media Training vr Film/Video Arts Prof, instruction 

in all areas of film & video prod, on beginning & 



intermediate levels, incl. 16mm film prod.. 16mm film 
editing, video prod., video editing, screenwriting, di- 
recting, fundraising. prod, mgmt & intro to digital 
effects. Scholarships avail, for Blacks. Latinos. Asians 
& Native Americans residing in NYS. Contact: Media 
Training. F/VA. 8 1 7 Broadway. New York. NY 10003: 
(212)673-9361. 

Fast Rewind: Archaeology of Moving Images, a 4- 
day int'l conference on moving image preservation & 
application. May 4-7 in Rochester, NY. Panels & pres- 
entations on preservation, research, teaching, exchang- 
ing, financing & sharing. Contact: Rochester Institute 
of Technology. College of Liberal Arts. Bruce Austin. 
1 Lomb Memorial Dr.. Box 9887. Rochester. NY 1 4623- 
0887; (716)475-6649. 

Intl Experimental Film Congress in Toronto will 
feature screenings, panels & presentations on avant- 
garde cinema. Programs incl. founding women of avant- 
garde. Hollis Frampton retro, nat'l prgms from Canada. 
W. Germany. E. Europe. Latin America. Europe. May 
28-June 4. Contact: Jim Shedden. Int'l Experimental 
Film Congress. 2 Sussex Ave.. Toronto. Ont. M5S 1 J5. 
Canada: (416) 978-7790/588-8940. 

Cultural Council Foundation announces free con- 
sulting "clinics" for nonprofit arts groups in NYC. Staff 
specializes in areas such as fundraising. organizational 
devel.. publicity, accounting & others. By appt only. 
Contact: Jenny Avery: (212) 473-5660. 

NYU School of Continuing Education film & video 
Saturday workshops: May 8, Making a Living as a 
Director; May 13. Getting a Job in Film and Video. 
Day-long seminars held at New York University. Tui- 
tion $90. plus S10 registration fee. For registration 
form, contact: Dept. of Film. Video and Broadcasting. 
NYU SCE. 50 West 4th St. #332. New York. NY 
10003; (212)998-7140. 

International Meeting of Latin American indepen- 
dent videomakers. June 19-23. Cochabamba, Bolivia. 
South and N. Americans will meet to discuss on-going 
efforts to organize int'l union of ind./community video- 
makers. For info, write: Cochabomba 89, Casilla 4344. 
Cochabomba. Bolivia: tel: 042-49971; telex: 6267 
INEDER bv. Or call Martha Wallner at Deep Dish TV 
(212)420-9045. 



Films • Tapes Wanted 

Independent Acquisition Fund Competition seeking 
3/4". 1/2" Beta & VHS. or 16mm works, all genres, for 
broadcast on WHYY TV-Philadelphia. Offering $14/ 
min. or S75 for works under 5 min. Competition open 
to residents of PA. DE & NJ w/ works completed since 
Jan. I. 1987. Entries must be labeled w/ name, address, 
length & title. Incl. check or money order for return 
postage (insured) and shipping container. Deadline: 
May 19. For complete info, contact Terri Chesmar at: 
Independent Acquistion Fund. WHYY TV 12. 150 N. 
Sixth St.. Philadelphia. PA 19106; (215) 351-1200. 

Cinfm \theoi I seeks interesting, unusual, mundane, 
humorous &/or provocative segments of narrative, doc. 
industrial, educ. commercial, etc. slug & found footage 
for upcoming "raw found footage" program. Segments 
may be up lo 15 mm., either entire films or segments 
excerpted intact. Reedited films & films using found 



footage not acceptable. S2/min. paid to all accepted 
entries w/$10 minimum. Contact: San Francisco Cine- 
matheque. 480 Potrero Ave.. San Francisco, CA 941 10; 
(415) 558-8129. 

Tompkins Square Arts Festival seeks videotapes to 
show at 12th annual event. June 17 & 18. Screenings 
will be held outdoors in park. Submit 3/4" or VHS w/ 
SASE to: T.S.A.F. Video. 221 Ave. B #3. New York. 
NY 10009. 



Opportunities • Gigs 

Asst. Producer sought for NYC short film fest. held 
annually at FIT's Haft Auditorium. Position nonpaying 
at present but negotiations w/ potential sponsorship 
now underway. Looking for creative person to oversee 
production of entertaining independent nat'l showcase, 
now in 8th year. Contact: Asbury Film Festival. 21 E. 
26th St.. New York. NY 10010; (212) 779-9126. 

Editor-in-Chief sought for established monthly publi- 
cation of nonprofit film organization. Periodical edito- 
rial experience & film knowledge required. Send re- 
sume & samples to: Editor. 5550 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 
204, Los Angeles, CA 90036. 



Publications 

Super 8 Producer Journal: 1st vol.. published Feb. 
1989. now avail. Features info, on equipment, vendors, 
aesthetics, production & business of super 8 film. 
Subscriptions free, but donations accepted. Contact: 
Mike Apsey. S-8 Producer Journal. 3909 W. Rogers 
Ave.. Tampa. FL 3361 1; (813) 839-1943. 

Media Exchange: New newsletter from Pittsburgh 
Filmmakers in cooperation w/ Access Video & Univ. of 
Pittsburgh Film Studies Dept. now avail. & seeking 
info, on all facets of film, video & photographic arts 
incl. conferences, workshops, classes, prof. & aca- 
demic opportunities, tests, contests, exhibitions & other 
publications. Send info to: Media Exchange, c/o Pitts- 
burgh Filmmakers. 205 Oakland Ave.. Box 7467. Pitts- 
burgh. PA 15213. 



Resources • Funds 

Ba~i Area film- & videomakers will be awarded 17 
grants totalling $45,000 from the Film Arts Foundation. 
Must be resident of 9-country San Francisco Bay Area. 
Awards in 3 cats: short personal works, project devel- 
opment, completion/distribution. Deadline: May 19. 
For appl.. contact: FAF. 346 Ninth St.. 2nd fl.. San 
Francisco. CA 94103; (415) 552-8760. 

Astrea FOUNDATION: Funds for women's orgs in PA. 
NY. NJ. RI. DC. MD. MA. DE & CT. Will consider 
media projects designed to ser\ e as educ. & organizing 
tools to promote progressive social change. Grants 
from S500-5.000. Deadline: May 3 1 . Appl. from Astrea 
Foundation. 666 Broadway. Ste. 610, New York. NY 
10012: (212)529-8021. 

1989-90 Fu. bright Grants avail, for US faculty in 
fields of communications & journalism. Openings in 
many countries still avail. PhD or teaching experience, 
evidence of scholarly productivity & US citizenship 



MAY 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 41 



required Contact: Council fbi Int'l Exchange of Schol- 
ars. 1 1 Dupont Circle. Ste WO. Washington. DC 20036- 

Grants for Interdisciplinary Artists administered 
b> DiverseWorks & Southwest Alternative Media 
Project Provides funds for artists whose activities fuse 
different disciplines. » grants ol up to $5,000. Open to 
.iriiN^ who are not full-time students & h.ive resided tor 
at least one yr in TX. OK. \K NE. KS.orMS Funding 
pro\ ided bv Rockefeller Foundation & NEA, Deadline: 
M.i> I Contact GPIA. DiverseWorks. 214 Travis St.. 
Houston, rx 77002: (713) 223-8346 or 522-8592. 

MlDATLANTIC Akls FOUNDATION Visual Arts Resi- 

denc) grants avail, for 1990/91 projects. Supports resi- 
dencies bv nuliv anists & prot art critics. Deadline: 
Julv 14 Contact: Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. II E. 
Chase St.. Ste. 2A. Baltimore. \ID 2 1 202: (301 1 539- 

6656. 

I 1 ) 1 )*)- 1 )! Am \s< l i) Rl si \kc ll Fl LLOWSHIPS is INDIA 
The Indo-U.S. Subcommission on Educ A: Culture 
otters research grants in India for all academic disci- 
plines, except clinical medicine. Applicants must be 
U.S. citizens at postdoctoral level or equivalent profes- 
sional level. Scholars & professionals w/ limited or no 
prior experience in India are esp. encouraged to upplv . 
Appl. deadline: June 15. Contact: Council tor Int"l 
Exchange of Scholars. Attn: Indo-Amer. Fellowship 
Program. 3400 Int'l Dr.. Ste. M-500. Washington. D.C. 
20008-3097: (202)686-4013. 

Ai \sk\ Stati Councii os rut Arts Project Grant 
deadline: Maj I ,\: Nov . I . Contact: ASCA. 619 Ware- 
house Ave.. Ste. 220. Anchorage. AK 99501-1682: 
(907 1 27^-1 55s 



Intermedia Akin \1idiv Akin Production Awards 

ol equipment t V facilities usage &l support to artists 
working in v ideo. electronic music, computer graphics, 
animation & performance. Awards based on submitted 
proposals tor creation or production ot whole or partial 
projects. 6 to 10 awards given annually. Appl. dead- 
hues: \lav I.Aug. I A: Nov. I. Individual emerging or 
professional artists or groups of collaborating artists 
eligible, w/ no residential requirements. Contact: Inter- 
media Arts, 425 Ontario St.. SE. Minneapolis. \1\ 
55414: (612)627-4444. 

Fit m RecrantsforWi stern New York Filmmakers 
Grants ranging from S I -2.IKX) aw arded to independents 
from Alleghany. Cattaraugus. Chautauqua. Erie. 
Genesee, Monroe. Livingston. Niagara. Orleans, or 
Wyoming Counties. Grants are for development, pro- 
duction &/or postproduction of specific film projects. 
Deadline: Slav 1 5. For appl. contact: Jurgen Bruning or 
Andreas Wildfang, Hallwalls, (716) X54-5828. 



Trims & Glitches 

Ki (Jos to Cmdv Marshall whose v ideotape A Life of 
Song A Portrait of Ruili Rubin earned the 1988 Strei- 
sand Video Award & Chris Bronze Award. 

Congrats io Peter Chow, who received a 1989 Steven 
Tatsukawa Memorial Award. 

Annette barbier was awarded a S5.000 fellowship 
from Illinois Arts Council for a multimonitor installa- 
tion using videos of women working in India. Con- 
gratulations! 

Kidos to Eric Scholl. whose video Electricity was a 



pn/e-w inner at California's Mill Valley test for inde- 
pendent videos. 

Cosi.r vi 1 1 v itons to Nancy Savoca. whose film True 
Lave won Grand Prize for best dramatic film at the 
United States Film Festival. 

Academy Award nominations have gone to AIVF 
members: for Live Action Shorts: Dean Parisot. The 
Appointments of Dennis Jennings; Gary Moss. Gullah 
Talcs: for Feature Documentaries: Ginny Durrin. Prom- 
ises to Keep: Christine Choy & Renee Tajima. Who 
Killed \ uncut Chin': for Documentary Short Subjects: 
Karen Goodman. The Children's Storefront: Lise Yasui 
& Ann Tegnell. Family Gathering; Thomas B. Fleming 
& Daniel J. Marks. Gang Cops & Meg Partridge. 
Portrait of Imogen. Congrats! 

Ki dos to AIVF members awarded grants from the New 
York Council for the Humanities: Jaime Barrios. The 
New Crusaders: Robby Henson. Trouble Behind: John 
Reilly. Waiting for Beckett, Victoria Larimore. Gypsies 
& Melvin McCray. Dollic Robinson: The Woman & 
Her Times. 

1989 WissERSof Intercultural Film/Video Fellowships 
from the Rockefeller Foundation are Tony Buba. Julie 
Dash. Gary Hill. Yvonne Rainer. Leslie Thornton. St. 
Clair Bourne. Christine Choy. Ana Maria Garcia. Jill 
Godmilow. Richard Gordon & Marlon Riggs. Kudos! 

Winners of the 1989 Jimmie Media Awards from the 
Association of Asian/ Pacific American Artists include 
Christine Choy & Renee Tajima. & Peter Chow. Con- 

aratulations! 




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42 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1989 



PROGRAM NOTES M 



Ethan Young 

Membership/Programming Director 

It happens every spring. AIVF members get a 
chance to elect half of our board of directors for 
another two-year term. The 12-member board is 
the central decision-making body of the Associa- 
tion. Its composition reflects the members' spec- 
trum of views on the direction of the organization 
and the quality of services we provide. This year, 
five seats on the board will be voted upon; next 
year it will be six. Executive director Lawrence 
Sapadin remains an ex officio member. 

Each potential candidate must be nominated 
and seconded by AIVF members in good stand- 
ing, either through the mail or at the annual 
membership meeting in New York City. The 
candidates are then presented to current members 
(student members excluded) on a ballot that in- 
cludes a statement from each candidate explain- 
ing her or his views on issues facing independents 
and AIVF in the coming years. Each member may 
vote for five candidates on the list; the two run- 
ners-up serve as alternates in the event a board 
member steps down. 

The board meets four times a year in New 
York. Board committees focus on advocacy 
(including AIVF's contribution to the organizing 
efforts for the Independent Production Service for 
public television and tax reform); membership/ 
public relations; and the Indie awards. Readers 
will be informed of the outcome of the election in 
the "Memoranda" column later this year. 

□ □ □ 

FIVF's Seminar Program is spreading out. FIVF 
was formed as an educational arm of AIVF back 
in the seventies. Until now, our regular public 
events remained anchored near our Manhattan 
office by budget and staff limitations. But in 
recent months, we have presented a number of 
programs in other cities through cosponsorship 
with local and regional independent groups and 
media arts centers. 

Kathryn Bowser, who heads our Festival Bu- 
reau, travelled to San Francisco in April to take 
part in a panel at Film Arts Foundation. In May, 
she'll be on a panel with producer A viva Kempner 
and critic Pat Aufderheide at the Washington. 
D.C. Filmiest. And in June, Kathryn will be speak- 
ing to Boston independents, cosponsored by 
Boston Film/Video Foundation. FIVF also co- 
sponsored several events with Squeaky Wheel in 
Buffalo. If you would like to involve AIVF 
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CONTENTS 



FEATURES 

1 6 Reading New German Cinema 

by Karen Rosenberg 

1 8 "We Are Demolition Artists": An Interview with Alexander Kluge 

by Yvonne Rainer and Ernest Larsen 

4 MEDIA CLIPS 

The Long Goodbye: California Public Access Foundation Folds 

by Patricia Thomson 

The NEA's Curriculum for Creativity 

by Ray Navarro 

ABC-Clio Plans New Video Guide for Libraries 

Keyes Exits New York State Governor's Film/TV Office 

by Lorna Johnson 

Sequels 

10 FIELD REPORT 

The Wrong Man: The Thin Blue Line and Justice in Dallas 

by Patricia Thomson 

13 LEGAL BRIEF 

Alike Is Not Similar: Copyright Infringement Court Cases 

by Sheldon Siporin 

26 FESTIVALS 

A Festival of One's Own: 1989 Women in the Director's Chair 

by Elfrieda M. Pantoga 

In Brief 

32 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Renee Tajima 

34 CLASSIFIEDS 
36 NOTICES 

39 PROGRAM NOTES 

by Kathryn Bowser 

40 MEMORANDA 

Summary of the Minutes of the AIVF/FIVF Board of Directors Meeting 







COVER: A history teacher and her husband listen to a news flash before 
the outbreak of World War II in Alexander Kluge's film Die Patriotin (.The 
Female Patriot, 1979). Kluge's numerous films and theoretical writings 
have played a central role in the development of New German 
Cinema. In this issue, Karen Rosenberg reviews two newly translated 
books on this influential film movement plus a new volume of Kluge's 
fiction. This is followed by an in-depth interview with Kluge, conducted 
on the occasion of a retrospective of his film and television work 
organized by the Goethe Institutes of the United States and Canada. 
Photograph courtesy filmmaker. 



2 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1989 



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THE LONG GOODBYE: 
CALIFORNIA PUBLIC ACCESS 
FOUNDATION FOLDS 



While casualties of the 1984 Cable Communica- 
tions Policy Act — which codified a number of 
deregulation measures — are usually counted in 
terms of rate increases or channels dropped, there 
is a recent institutional fatality that can be added 
to the toll. As of December 31,1 988, California's 
public access resource center, the Foundation for 
Community Service Cable Television, closed its 
doors due to discontinued funding. 

The foundation was launched in 1979 under 
Governor Jerry Brown's administration as part of 
a compromise reached between cable operators 
pressing for deregulation and public interest 
advocates. A state law allowed cable operators to 
be deregulated in exchange for certain provisions, 
including the contribution of 50 cents per sub- 
scriber annually to the newly established founda- 
tion. But when the federal Cable Act went into 
effect in 1986, it superceded state law, allowing 
cable operators to withdraw their support for the 
foundation while enjoying the benefits of deregu- 
lation. The foundation managed to survive through 
last year on alternative sources of income, such as 
fees for services, but this was insufficient to keep 
it alive any longer. 

The foundation helped nurture public access 
throughout California in numerous ways. For ex- 
ample, by providing funds for a training program, 
they helped transform the Office of Telecommu- 
nications in Los Angeles "from a government 
bureaucracy to getting the community involved," 
according to Evelyn Pine, the foundation' s deputy 
director and editor of its quarterly newsletter 
Cable Scan. The foundation coached communi- 
ties through the transition from cable-run access 
centers to ones run by nonprofit corporations. 
Executive director Kathleen Schuler made fre- 
quent trips around the state to educate and advise 
city officials, community groups, schools, and 
others about the potential of public access. Infor- 
mation services were also available over the phone. 
Its publications — Cable Scan and the resource 
guides Local Government and Cable Television 
and Community Channels, Free Speech and the 
Law — also provided valuable tools. Perhaps most 
important was the foundation's grant-making 
program, through which all revenues from cable 
operators were channeled back into the communi- 
ties. A total of SI -million in public access pro- 
gramming grants were awarded to 306 projects of 
local nonprofit groups and government agencies. 

The foundation also developed a national pro- 



file through its Videotape Exchange, a database 
listing and catalogue of over 600 public access 
programs and distributors, which was used by 
programmers and producers. While initially fo- 
cusing on California, the demand for such a 
database from beyond the state borders was quickly 
felt, and the Videotape Exchange grew to incor- 
porate programs from all over the country. "That's 
the way a lot of people learned about Deep Dish 
Television" says Martha Wallner, one of the New 
York coordinators of Deep Dish's national satel- 
lite network for public access programming. 

Although the foundation has closed, it leaves 
behind its publications, database, and other prog- 
eny. Evelyn Pine recalls, "When the foundation 
started, there were few surviving access centers in 
California. What it did was involve 80 to 1 00 local 
groups in access, getting them to provide infor- 
mation about access or manage access channels. 
These are our children and grandchildren, and 
they are the most important part of our work." The 
Videotape Exchange will continue as an active 
program, now under management of the Far West 
Region of the National Federation of Local Cable 
Programmers (NFLCP). "We are currently devel- 
oping a realistic approach to handling it," says the 
region's chairperson Deborah Vinsel. Because 
the NFLCP is an all-volunteer organization, she 
cautions, they might lack the personnel to provide 
the level of service that the foundation did, such 
as honoring requests for lists of videotapes on 
specific topics. However, at their April meeting 
the NFLCP-Far West Region board of directors 
resolved to undertake a "major marketing push" 
and an updated edition of the Community Pro- 
gramming Catalogue by the end 1989. 

The foundation ' s remaining funds, in excess of 
S60.000, will be turned over to the California 
Channel, a nonprofit group developing a satellite- 
delivered public affairs network. As currently 
planned, the California Channel will take the 
shape of a statewide C-SPAN, providing unedited 
coverage of the state legislature, a nightly news- 
cast, interviews and call-ins, and additional pub- 
lic affairs programming. As outlined in the final 
issue of Cable Scan, "Both tape exchanges and 
bicycles suffer from being very time-intensive 
and fragmented. The Foundation is now making 
an investment in the only viable proposal for a 
statewide satellite distribution system that has 
emerged over the last six years. ..which we feel 
will make a major contribution to local access 



JUNE 1989 

VOLUME 12, NUMBER 5 



Publisher 

Editor 

Managing Editor 

Associate Editor 

Contributing Editors 



Editorial Staff: 

Production Staff 
Art Director 
Advertising 

National Distributor: 



Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Patricia Thomson 
Renee Tajima 
Kathryn Bowser 
Bob Brodsky 
Karen Rosenberg 
Quynh Thai 
Toni Treadway 
Kelly Anderson 
Ray Navarro 
Jeanne Brei 
Christopher Holme 
Andy Moore 
(212) 473-3400 
Bernhard DeBoer 
1 13 E. Center St. 
Nutley. NJ07110 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published ten times 
yearly by the Foundation for Independent 
Video and Film, Inc. (FIVF). 625 Broadway. 
9th Floor, New York, NY 10012, (212-473- 
3400), a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educa- 
tional foundation dedicated to the promo- 
tion of video and film, and by the Associa- 
tion of Independent Video and Filmmakers, 
Inc. (AIVF), the national trade association of 
independent producers and individuals 
involved in independent video and film. 
Subscription is included with membership in 
AIVF. Together FIVF and AIVF provide a 
broad range of educational and pro- 
fessional services for independents and the 
general public. Publication of The Indepen- 
dent is made possible in part with public 
funds from the New York State Council on 
the Arts and the National Endowment for 
the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be re- 
turned unless a stamped, self-addressed 
envelope is included. No responsibility is as- 
sumed for loss or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be 
addressed to the editor. Letters may be ed- 
ited for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foun- 
dation for Independent Video and Film, 
Inc., except where otherwise noted. 
Reprints require written permission and ac- 
knowledgement of the article's previous 
appearance in The Independent. ISSN 0731- 
5198. The Independent is indexed in the 
Alternative Press Index. 

Foundation for Independent Video and Film. Inc 1989 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin. ex- 
ecutive director: Ethan Young, membership/ pro- 
gramming director; Kathryn Bowser, festival bureau 
director; Morton Marks, audio/business manager, Sol 
Horwitz. Short Film Showcase project administrator; 
Kelly Anderson, administrative assistant 



4 THE INDEPENDENT 



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channels and will encourage greaterdialogue with- 
in California." 

For information on the Videotape Exchange, 
contact: Deb Vinsel, 2575 #F Elden Ave., Costa 
Mesa, CA 92627; (7 14) 680-8842. For copies of 
the foundation's publications, contact: Kathleen 
Schuler. 30 1 5 Turk St., San Francisco, CA 94 1 1 8; 
(415) 387-0200. For information on California 
Cable, contact: Tracy Westen, president or Paul 
Koplin, executive director, California Channel, 
10951 W. Pico Blvd., 3rd fl.. Los Angeles, CA 
90064; (213)475-1015. 

PATRICIA THOMSON 

THE NEA'S CURRICULUM 
FOR CREATIVITY 

Back in 1982, the National Endowment for the 
Arts was disturbed to find that a recent study con- 
cluded that 6 1 percent of adults in the U.S. hadn't 
attended a single performance of classical music, 
jazz, opera, theater, ballet, or visited a single 
museum or gallery. These findings shocked the 
Endowment into shifting its priorities, and early 
in his reign as chair of the agency Reagan-ap- 
pointee Frank Hodsoll halted a plan already in 
motion to phase out the NEA's Arts in Education 
program. The decision to shelve the program had 
been devised as a response to the severe budget 
cuts instituted during Reagan's first years in of- 
fice. 

Further studies conducted by the NEA indi- 
cated that the average teenager spends more time 
in front of the TV than in the classroom. With this 
in mind, the NEA has slowly increased its support 
for education programs, and in fiscal year 1989 
the agency allocated $5.6-million to arts educa- 
tion. To complement these efforts, in May 1988 
Hodsoll's office issued an extensive report on the 
NEA's education policies entitled Towards Civi- 
lization, a document emphasizing the need for a 
reevaluation of the role of arts education within 
U.S. public schools. The push to expand NEA 
influence over arts curricula is partly rationalized 
by a comparison contained in the report: the NEA 
"spends 3.3 percent of its current budget on its 
Arts Education Program, compared to 12.8 per- 
cent of the Humanities Endowment's budget for 
humanities education and just over 5 percent of 
the Science Foundation's much larger budget for 
science education." 

Towards Civilization includes a long list of arts 
courses in need of expansion and refinement, 
among which media arts is identified as a subject 
that should be a required course for both primary 
and secondary school students. "Were young 
people better able to distinguish the good from the 
bad in popular culture, they might influence what 
the media gave them, since the media responds to 
what audiences demand," the authors of Towards 
Civilization write, continuing, "But audience de- 
mand for a wider variety of fare depends on 
acquiring, through learning, a taste for different 



experiences... the ability to understand the more 
complex vocabularies... of great art." 

It follows, then, that one of the ways the NEA 
plans to use television is as a means to influence 
arts education. And, to that end in 1985, they ear- 
marked funds for the production of a 13-part 
series geared towards eight- to- 12-year-olds and 
intended for broadcast on public television. Enter 
the Getty Center for Education in the Arts, whose 
partnership in this project was reported several 
years ago in The Independent ("The Economics of 
Art Education 101," in "Media Clips," September 
1985). According to Vicki Rosenberg, project 
manager at the Getty, the series — entitled Behind 
the Scenes — is being jointly produced by Educa- 
tional Broadcasting (the nonprofit that runs WNET, 
the New York City public television station) and 
Learning Designs, a private production company. 

At present, Middlemarch Films, a New York 
City production company contracted by Learning 
Designs, has produced two pilot programs for the 
series. One of the series' executive producers, 
Jane Garvey at Learning Designs, says that the 
entire 1 3 programs could be completed and ready 
for broadcast in the fall or winter of 1 99 1 . She also 
explained that by August 1989 the NEA should 
make a decision concerning release of the funds 
that will allow completion of the project. If all 
goes according to schedule, the series will con- 
tinue production and eventually encompass seg- 
ments on dance, music, theater, and the visual arts. 

Viewed by Endowment staff and the producers 
as an intervention amid the dearth of effective 
materials for arts education, Behind the Scenes 
represents a major shift in NEA policy in the 
hopes of informing a population of young people 
who have never heard of Mozart but know all 
about Michael Jackson and Kenny Rogers. By the 
time the Toward Civilization report was pub- 
lished, the NEA had invested approximately $ 1 .9- 
million in the pilots — a sum that covered both 
production costs and extensive research and test- 
ing of the programs' efficacy. So far, the NEA's 
share of funding for the series has come largely 
from the Media Arts Program. But none of the 
programs slated for production will treat media as 
an art. 

Don Johnson, a Behind the Scenes producer at 
WNET, explaines that the program pilots are still 
being in the research and testing phase of develop- 
ment and not ready for public release. Middle- 
march supplied The Independent with a copy of 
one of the series pilots, Behind the Scenes with 
David Hockney. The show features a brightly col- 
ored montage of fast-paced visuals, used to illus- 
trate a discussion of perception, perspective, and 
"tricks of the eye." The audience is introduced to 
the British painter as someone who is interested in 
visual perception in a unique way. Hockney pro- 
ceeds to draw a "walkaround" chair, an object that 
can be viewed from many perspectives simultane- 
ously. With this device, he confounds the descrip- 
tions of spatial representation, vanishing points, 
horizon lines, and other visual phenomena that are 



6 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1989 



Nestor 
Mmcndros 



ASC 




M/^m "Our film 'Nobody Listened' is the story told by Cuban political 

A|| all W%a exiles about human rights violations in their country Because the 
■ J| ■▼ film is a documentary I didn't want any arty lighting. Most of the 

\0u ■♦ time we used available light or just a single soft light. I wanted 

the audience to be able to see the eyes of the people we interviewed. Their eyes are the 
mirrors of their souls. We couldn't have made this movie without today's 'fast' 16 mm 
Eastman color negative film. I wanted to be able to blow the negative up to 35 mm prints 
so it could be seen in theaters without losing contrast, increasing grain, or altering colors. 
When the film was shown, very few people could tell it was shot in 16 mm." 

Nestor Almendros, ASC, won an Oscar for "Days of Heaven." Other credits include "Kramer 
vs. Kramer" "The Blue Lagoon," "The Last Metro," "Sophie's Choice," and "Places in the Heart." 
"Nobody Listened" won a 1988 Distinguished Achievement Award from the International 
Documentary Association. 



Eastman 

Motion Picture Films 



presented in other segments of the program. 

It this episode is an> indication, the series v> ill 
not emplo\ an) pedagogica] methods that entail 
involvement in art-making on the part of the 
audience. There is no attempt, for instance, to en- 
courage children to use \ ideo equipment to make 
their 0» n tele\ lsion programs or create their own 
"walkaround" furniture. Although media educa- 
tion programs such as that conceived and admini- 
stered b> Film in the Cities in Minneapolis are 
heralded in Tom aids Civilization as exemplary, as 
vet there is no NEA-funded initiative to encour- 
age such programs on a national scale. 

Meanwhile. Hodsoll has been appointed ex- 
ecute e associate director and chief financial offi- 
cer of the Office of Management and Budget 
under President Bush. The NEA he left never was 
and still is not an education agency, so it will 
continue to put an emphasis on state and local 
educators' efforts to design their own arts curric- 
ula. But, in both the Towards Civilization docu- 
ment and the Behind the Scenes television series, 
a comprehensive and sustained educational pro- 
gram aimed at children has been officially en- 
dorsed. The consequences of this initiative remain 
ambiguous, however, when calls for liberaliza- 
tion are accompanied by statements such as. "Arts 
education also has practical importance. Under- 
standing the cultures of other countries helps 
American business succeed in world markets and 
acts as a stimulus to the creativity and problem- 
solving which are essential to competitiveness." 



Toward civilization? 



RAY NAVARRO 



ABC-CLIO PLANS NEW 
VIDEO GUIDE FOR 
LIBRARIES 

"Independent productions are the hardest things 
for librarians to find out about," says Beth Blenz- 
Clucas, which is one of the motivating factors 
behind the launch of a new quarterly publication. 
Video Rating Guide for Libraries. In addition to 
the sole reference book on special interest video- 
tapes, the American Library Association's Video 
for Libraries, librarians currently rely on whole- 
sale catalogues to learn about titles, according to 
the guide's managing editor Blenz-Clucas. The 
new serial publication "is a great opportunity for 
independent producers to get their names and 
titles in front of people buying video for libraries." 
She elaborates. "Librarians are increasingly talk- 
ing about their informational role. For a while 
they were trying to compete with home video 
stores and were buying popular feature films. 
Now, more and more are buying special interest 
videos." 

I ideo Rating Guide for Libraries will be a 
quarterly publication consisting of 300-400 word 
reviews, ratings, and distribution information on 
recently released special interest films or videos 
available on VHS. The reviews will be written by 



a pool of approximately 200 librarians and univer- 
sity professors who are specialists in the field 
under consideration. The first issue, due out in 
January 1990. will cover works released in 1989. 
Blenz-Clucas expects to review approximately 
2.000 tapes in the first year. "We're going to try to 
be as comprehensive as possible," she says. While 
Video Rating Guide for Libraries will concentrate 
on current releases, Blenz-Clucas indicates there 
may also be a retrospective issue at some point. 

Special interest videotapes run a wide gamut, 
from pet training to computers to sports. Excluded 
from the Video Rating Guide for Libraries are 
"feature films, popular music videos, promotional 
videos, and highly technical or industry-specific 
videos," according to the application guidelines. 
There are numerous program categories that many 
independent productions would fall within, in- 
cluding documentaries, social issues, ethnic/ra- 
cial studies, politics/government, global studies, 
history, and art. The editors intend to include a 
substantial section on children's programming, 
which is where fictional shorts and animation will 
be included, if appropriate. 

The publisher of Video Rating Guide for 
Libraries is ABC-Clio, a 35-year-old publishing 
company specializing in serial bibliographies and 
reference books on the humanities and social 
sciences. (ABC is the acronym for the American 
Bibliographic Center, and Clio refers to the muse 
of history.) The company's first foray into video, 
the 1 988 book Developing and Maintaining Video 




Columbia, South Carolina 
July 10-23, 1989 

Intensive week-long professional media production 
workshops in 16mm film, 3 A" video, computer graphics, 
electronic music, interactive video, photography, film 
criticism, scriptwriting, animation, and more . 

Weekend seminars with leading Hollywood artists: 
cinematography, directing, scriptwriting and composing. 

1989 Southeast Producers Forum: 
screenings, panels, receptions — 
Meeting place for participants in all aspects of 
southeastern media industry. 

Contact: Southeastern Media Institute, 

SC Arts Commission Media Arts Center 
1800 Gervais Street, Columbia, SC 29201 
(803) 734-8696 

The Institute is a project of the SC Arts Commission Media Arts 
Center with the support of the University of South Carolina Media 
Arts Department, the South Carolina Film Office, the Academy 
Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. 



8 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1989 



Collections in Libraries, by James C. Scholtz, 
elicited such demand, says Blenz-Clucas, that 
ABC-Clio concluded there was a need to delve 
further into the field. 

Because of potential problems with copyright 
clearances, Blenz-Clucas prefers hearing directly 
from producers rather than their distributors and 
suggests producers put her on their mailing lists. 
Producers interested in having their VHS works 
listed in the guide should contact Beth Blenz- 
Clucas for application forms and further informa- 
tion at Video Rating Guide for Libraries, ABC- 
Clio, 130 Cremona Drive, Santa Barbara, CA 
931 17; (800) 422-2546. 

PT 

KEYES EXITS NEW YORK 
STATE GOVERNOR'S 
FILM/TV OFFICE 

After serving six years as commissioner of the 
New York State Governor's Office for Motion 
Picture and Television Development, Jaynne 
Keyes has abdicated her post. Keyes spent a total 
of seven and a half years with the Governor's 
Office. Initially acting as associate director in 
1 979, she left for a brief sojourn in cable television 
but returned in 1983 to become commissioner. 
During her tenure in that job, production in the 
state increased 400 percent. 

Keyes says that her decision to leave was 
prompted by her desire to produce a project of her 
own. "I found a book I really liked," she explains. 
Under the auspices of her newly-formed inde- 
pendent company Outta This Place Productions, 
Keyes is preparing to produce a script based on 
Florence Keans' book When Sisterhood Was in 
Flower, a comedy about the feminist movement 
set in the seventies. 

The change of hats should present few prob- 
lems for Keyes, since she has six years' experi- 
ence working with producers. "I'm tired of bring- 
ing everybody else's film in on budget. Now I 
want to bring my own in," she comments. Al- 
though a seasoned professional, Keyes expresses 
apprehension about her venture. "It's very excit- 
ing and at the same time scary," she says. As for 
financing the film, Keyes plans to package it and 
offer it to the studios. 

LORN A JOHNSON 



SEQUELS 



The concept of moral rights held by creators of 
intellectual property, a keystone of copyright law 
in Western Europe but not in the United States, is 
again creating anxiety among motion picture 
producers and television executives while giving 
encouragement to film and TV directors, writers, 
and other artists ["The Limits of Copyright: Moral 
Rights and the Berne Convention," May 1 988]. A 
March 15 report to the House Subcommittee on 
Copyrights, prepared by the Copyright Office of 



the Library of Congress, exploring the issue of 
colorization, scanning and panning, and elec- 
tronic time compression or expansion recom- 
mended that the principal director and screen- 
writer of a film be accorded moral rights in the 
work. That means material alterations in the work, 
such as colorization, would require their consent. 
However, the report also advised that such meas- 
ures be applied to new works only, thereby more 
or less neglecting the primary targets of coloriza- 
tion — vintage black and white Hollywood mov- 
ies — since the Fifth Amendment prohibits the 
public seizure of private property without just 
compensation, the report commented. Addition- 
ally, the Copyright Office's report considers the 
possibility of moral rights claims by composers, 
novelists, and other creators who contribute to 
motion picture production. Potentially, such claims 
could pit members of the Directors Guild of 
America, major proponents of moral rights, against 
fellow artists. 

□ □ □ 

The case of Erie Telecommunications, Inc. vs. 

City of Erie finally closed, when the Pennsylvania 
city's victory was unheld on appeal ["Cable 
Company Loses in Erie," July 1 987] . The dispute, 
which began in 1985, questioned the legality of 
franchise fees and public access requirements, 
which the cable company Erie Telecommunica- 
tions argued were both unconstitutional. The Court 
of Appeals decided in favor of the city on contrac- 
tual grounds — leaving the constitutional question 
unresolved. Erie Telecommunications does not 
plan to appeal. 

nan 

When Billboard Publications took over Ameri- 
can Film a year ago, this consumer magazine was 
considered an ideal complement to BPI's newly 
acquired trade publication Hollywood Reporter 
["American Film Goes West," October 1988]. In 
the April 1989 issue of American Film, a note 
from the publisher informed readers that hence- 
forth "the monthly Hollywood Reporter Magazine 
will be incorporated into the newly refocused and 
redesigned American Film." 

a □ □ 

In recent job moves, Linda Farin joins San Fran- 
cisco's Frameline as executive director, while the 
group's former head, Michael Lumpkin, will 
take over the new position of program director and 
continue to act as director of the annual Interna- 
tional Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, which 
Frameline presents. The Benton Foundation has a 
new executive director, Larry Kirkman. Previ- 
ously Kirkman founded the Labor Institute of 
Public Affairs, the TV arm of the AFL-CIO, and 
also set up the TV and Film Department of the 
American Film Institute, where he initiated the 
National Video Festival. The Philadelphia Inde- 
pendent Film/Video Association has a new coor- 
dinator and Express Exchange editor, indepen- 
dent producer Yvette Nieves-Cruz. 



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JUNE 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 9 



FIELD REPORT 



THE WRONG MAN: 

THE THIN BLUE LINE AND JUSTICE IN DALLAS 




The roadside murder of Officer 
Robert Wood was reenacted in The 
Thin Blue Line. Errol Morris' docu- 
mentary film on the miscarriage of 
justice brought Randall Adams' 
case to national attention. 



Patricia Thomson 



When the documentary feature The Thin Blue 
Line opened in Dallas late last summer, it was 
featured on all the local TV news shows and in all 
the newspapers. Subsequently The CBS Evening 
News, PM Magazine, 20/20. and other national 
news programs picked up the story or. in the case 
of the tabloid TV show The Reporters, simply 
stole it. "The Thin Blue Line got as much news 
attention as Rain Man." says its producer. Mark 
Lipson. without exaggeration. The news reports 
told about how the Wall Street private investiga- 
tor-tumed-filmmaker Errol Morris uncovered a 
gross miscarriage of justice in Dallas that kept an 
innocent man behind bars for 12 years and nearly 
sent him to the electric chair. 

Morris first came to Dallas in 1985 to do 



research for a film on Dr. James Grigson, also 
known as "Dr. Death." a controversial psychia- 
trist who evaluated the sanity of convicted felons 
and routinely found them fit to be executed. Randall 
Adams, who was convicted in 1 977 for the murder 
of police officer Donald Wood, was one of 
Grigson 's subjects whom Morris interviewed. 
The deeper Morris got into Adams' story, the 
more he was convinced that he was innocent. 
Morris then set aside his original project and made 
The Thin Blue Line, which focuses on Adams' 
case. In the film, the man who fingered Adams. 
David Harris, now on death row for a subsequent 
murder, reverses his original testimony. He states 
Adams didn't kill Wood and stops just short of a 
confession. 

As the story was making national news, a 
grassroots effort to help Adams took shape. People 
leaving theaters showing The Thin Blue Line in 



10 THE INDEPENDENT 



Photo: Mark Upson 



New York City and Dallas were met by volunteers 
with clipboards and petitions from the Free Ran- 
dall Adams Campaign. Across the country, thea- 
ter managers posted petitions and thousands of 
letters poured into the offices of the Texas district 
attorney, governor, and parole board. 

About seven months after the film's opening, 
Adams was released from prison, his conviction 
overturned because of a judge's ruling that he 
received an unfair trial. That night he appeared on 
Nightline, and Ted Koppel expressed what many 
people were thinking: "It's a curious way to have 
come to where you are tonight — to be freed, in 
effect, because of a movie." From the public's 
point of view, it certainly seemed as if the thea- 
trical release of The Thin Blue Line and the ac- 
companying publicity brought about the eviden- 
tiary hearing that began on November 30, 1988, 
and overturned Adams' conviction. But, in fact, 
the entangled relationship between Errol Morris' 
film and Randall Adams' legal battle is far more 
complicated and occurred over a period of years, 
not months. 

"Can we say that because of the film there was 
a hearing? Technically, no," says Lipson. "They 
don't see a movie coming out and decide to have 
a hearing. In Shirley Temple movies maybe, but 
not in the legal system." The hearing last fall was 
just one more chapter in a long history of appeals 
that can be traced back to the original trial in 1 977. 
However, in this hearing Morris presented new 
information that he had turned up. and that did 
have a profound impact on the eventual outcome 
of the case. In researching Adams' conviction, 
Morris uncovered a number of facts which he 
eventually shared with Adams' appeals attorney, 
Randy Schaffer, and presented directly to the 
court in film clips and documents — first in a 
federal hearing in December 1986 and January 
1987, then again in the state hearing in November 
and December 1988. 

"The news media put enormous weight on 
David Harris' 'confession,'" Morris explains. "But 

JUNE 1989 



it's important to realize that's not what this whole 
case hinged on." Rather, it was the evidence that 
all of the crucial witnesses had lied on the stand in 
1977 and that the prosecuting attorney had sup- 
pressed information implicating Harris. Morris 
gives an abbreviated list of the evidence he un- 
earthed regarding the "surprise witnesses" who 
identified Adams as Wood'skiller. "Emily Miller's 
admission that she had failed to pick out Randall 
Adams in a line-up [after saying under oath she 
had identified him] — that was one of the critical, 
if not the critical, pieces of evidence which led to 
the reversal of the 1977 conviction in the Texas 
Court of Appeals. Michael Rendell ' s admission — 
that he had been drinking that night [instead of 
seeing the murderer on his way home from play- 
ing basketball], that he had been partying, cheat- 
ing on his wife — was a new piece of evidence." 
So, too, was information detailing the Dallas 
police force's Internal Affairs Department's in- 
vestigation into the conduct of officer Teresa 
Turko, partner of the murdered policeman, re- 
vealing her testimony to be perjured. Morris 
managed to get access to the district attorney's 
private files, which contained handwritten notes 
by prosecuting attorney Doug Mulder, internal 
police documents, affidavits — "material which 
had never really seen the light of day, let alone 
been shown to Randall Adams' defense attorney. 
There were many, many crucial pieces of evi- 
dence in that file," says Morris. Among them were 
documents indicating Mulder had distorted testi- 
mony and even committed perjury and that deals 
had been struck between the DA's office and the 
attorney for Emily Miller, with robbery charges 
against her daughter being dropped after the 
conclusion of Adams' trial. 

Would any of this evidence have been uncov- 
ered by Adams' defense attorney had Morris not 
come along? No one can say with certainty. "I 
can't quite imagine someone, unless they had a 
single-minded determination, would actually fol- 
low all the leads in this case," says Morris. 

But even the proof that the state suppressed 
evidence favorable to Adams and that perjured 
evidence was knowingly used was not enough to 
reverse Adams' conviction. After Federal Magis- 
trate John Tolle conducted the hearing in late 
1986, he did not act for 18 months. It wasn't until 
after the premiere of The Thin Blue Line at the 
Dallas Film Festival on April 30, 1988, and the 
wave of press attention the film received that 
Tolle finally issued a ruling. In Morris' view, the 
timing was anything but coincidental: "When the 
movie came out, he had no choice but to respond." 
On May, Friday 13th, Tolle denied Adams a 
retrial. 

During the Dallas Film Festival, Morris had 
dinner with Adams' original defense attorney, 
Dennis White. When the subject of Tolle's deci- 
sion came up, White remembered a significant 
point: In 1977 he had filed a federal law suit 
alleging Adam's civil rights had been violated by 
the conduct of the Dallas district attorney's office 
and Doug Mulder in particular. It was Tolle, then 



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assistant district attorney, who defended Mulder. 
With this information and the 1977 court records 
to support it, Schaffer filed a reply to Tolle's 
ruling, revealing the conflict of interest. Eventu- 
ally Tolle backed down, setting the stage for the 
state hearing last fall when Judge Larry Baraka set 
aside Adams' conviction, ruling from the bench 
only one hour after the evidence had been pre- 
sented. There will be no retrial. "The film essen- 
tiallv destroyed their case."' says Lipson. "It showed 
they never had the goods on this guy. It was the 
Emperor's clothing." 

Morris had uncovered critical evidence, pre- 
sented it in court, precipitated Tolle's ruling, and 
then played a part in uncovering Tolle's conflict 
of interest — all before The Thin Blue Line had its 
theatrical release. What kind of role did the press 
and grassroots campaign play? 

Jeanne Bemey. hired by The Thin Blue Line's 
distributor, Miramax, to be the film's public rela- 
tions coordinator for the Southwest, recalls that in 
1985 an article about Adams' murder case ap- 
peared in the Texas Monthly, a widely read maga- 
zine. But. according to Berney. who then lived in 
Dallas. "Nothing happened. It didn't create a 
wave of interest. It wasn't until Errol Morris' film 
came out that there began to be a lot of activity." 
After seeing The Thin Blue Line at the Dallas Film 
Festival, the film critic for the Dallas Times Her- 
ald "was instrumental in getting the story on the 
state desk for a real investigation." Bemey relates. 
About that time the Herald changed ownership, 
and. Berney says, "The new editor saw it as an 
opportunity to make the Herald the way it used to 
be — achampionofthe people. So he put a reporter 
on it full-time and they began to run front-page 
stories." The Dallas Morning News also became 
a supporter of Adams' cause. By the time of the 
film 's theatrical opening, the New York Times was 
also following the case and the network news 
shows were bringing it to national attention. Morris 
credits this barrage of press coverage to the ability 
of public relations people in Dallas. New York, 
and Los Angeles to interest both entertainment 
critics and news editors in the film: "We have this 
fantasy that publicity comes out of now here. Most 
often it comes out of the hard work of people." 

The grassroots campaign came about after Paul 
Mowry, then on staff at Orion Classics, attended 
a preview of The Thin Blue Line. "I walked out of 
the screening completely mesmerized and in- 
censed at this injustice." he recalls. Upon learning 



Randall Adams, whose murder 
conviction was shown in The Thin Blue 
Line to be the result of perjured 
testimony and suppressed evidence, is 
now a free man — thanks in large part to 
the film and the attention it received. 

Photo Ned Burgess 



that there was no organized campaign to help 
Adams, Mowry decided to set up a clearinghouse 
for information about the progress of the case. 
Mowry, joined by Joey Silverman, then organized 
petitions at theaters showing The Thin Blue Line, 
initiated a letter-writing campaign, and set up a 
legal defense fund to help Adams ' mother with the 
substantial court costs. This effort has raised about 
S7.000 to date, and Lipson is currently negotiating 
with HBO Video about contributing a certain 
amount from each home video cassette sale to the 
defense fund. In Morris's estimate, "Paul Mowry 
played a significant role in all of this, because he 
was in a way that model concerned citizen who 
had nothing to gain whatsoever." The Free Ran- 
dall Adams Campaign resulted in thousands of 
letters inundating the offices of Judge Baraka and 
other key players. "This doesn't mean the letters 
forced him to rule in Randall Adams' favor," 
Morris states. Publicly, the judge discounted the 
effect of the letters and downplayed the impor- 
tance of the film in his decision tooverturn Adams' 
conviction. But they helped change the climate. 
Says Morris, "I had the evidence to see Randall 
Adams out of jail in 1985. But that evidence alone 
unfortunately was not enough to get him out, 
because you needed someone to look at the evi- 
dence, and that wasn't easy to find. Public opinion 
forced the authorities to look at this evidence." 

Repercussions from the film and the over- 
turned conviction are still being felt in Dallas. 
Assistant district attorney Winfield Scott, who 
helped prosecute Adams in 1 977. resigned abruptly 
in April. Scott led the effort to keep Adams in jail 
after Baraka's ruling, going so far as to bring 
charges of bias against Baraka. This created a 
backlash of criticism within the legal community 
and has led to a grand jury investigation into the 
conduct of the DA's office. 

It's not often that a documentary film produces 
such dramatic results — let alone an independent, 
feature-length, stylistically innovative documen- 
tary. Despite the convincing case in support of 
Adams' innocence presented in The Thin Blue 
Line, getting those results was neither easy nor 
inevitable. It entailed not only Morris' years of 
persistent investigation, but also his involvement 
in the court hearings, an aggressive publicity 
campaign pegged on the news value of the film, a 
responsive press and public, and a fair-minded 
judge. Remove any of those elements, and things 
might have worked out differently. 

Contributions to the Free Randall Adams Cam- 
paign may still be sent to: Legal Defense Fund. 98 
MacDougal Street. #3 A, New York, NY 10012. 



12 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1989 



LEGAL BRIEF 




ALIKE IS NOT SIMILAR: 
COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT 
COURT CASES 



Sheldon Siporin 



[Editor's note: This article is presented only for 
the purposes of educating independent film/video- 
makers and is not to be taken as legal advice.] 

You have been trying to come up with a great idea 
for a romantic thriller appropriate for cable TV or 
as a short subject entry for Cannes. You happen to 
pick up a dimestore novel left under your coffee 
table by some sloppy but convivial bohemian 
friends. Several years later your coproducer be- 
comes apoplectic at a private party celebrating the 
release of your latest film, when your bohemian 
friends tell her you "stole" the idea from an old 
pulp novel. Suddenly your mind recalls some- 
thing vague about "copyright infringement." You 
turn deathly pale. Have you violated the law, let 
alone basic tenets of morality, by making the 
film? Maybe, but maybe not. Copyright infringe- 
ment can be an elusive creature. 

A basic rule of copyright law under federal 
statute is that only the expression of an idea is 
protected, not the idea itself. Something that merely 
contains the same generalized idea or theme of a 
protected work does not invade the copyright. 
This distinction can be subtle. Therefore, a court 
investigating a claim of copyright infringement 
will make a very detailed comparison of the 
material presented before it. A lawsuit involving 
a screenplay, film, or video work necessarily 
involves a close inspection of areas dear to the 
heart of screenwriters and filmmakers: elements 
of characterization, theme, mood, plot, and style 
or presentation. 

A well known case that arose several years ago 
was Warner Brothers vs. American Broadcasting 
Corp. (720 F2d 23 1 ), decided by the U.S. Court of 
Appeals for the Second Circuit, which is the New 
York area federal appellate court. I refer to this 
case more colloquially as Superman vs. The Great- 
est American Hero. 

The financially successful Superman movies 
had just come out. ABC television wanted to 
capitalize on this by creating a television series 
based on Superboy. ABC approached the owners 
of the Superman copyright, Wamer Brothers, and 
requested a license to produce Superboy, the tele- 
vision show. At that time this was refused. ABC 
then looked for alternatives. It cut a deal with 
writer/producer Stephen Cannell to create a series 



featuring a superhero. The result was The Great- 
est American Hero, a half '-hour comedy adventure 
series about a reluctant and inept protagonist with 
unusual powers. Warner Brothers was disturbed 
by this and filed a lawsuit in federal district court 
claiming that Hero infringed on the Superman 
copyright. The district court rejected the claim 
and Warner Brothers appealed to the Second 
Circuit. 

The key question was the issue of "substantial 
similarity." This is a legal term of art. "Substantial 
similarity" indicates that the expression of the 
idea has been copied. The inquiry made by the 
court is whether an "average lay observer" would 
conclude that the alleged "copy" had appropriated 
the protected work. If this sounds like a vague or 
tricky concept, it is. (Some legal analysts call 
"substantial similarity" a "weasel word.") The 
bedrock of copyright law is imprecision. 

The Second Circuit went through an elaborate 
analysis, first comparing the origins of the two 
superbeings. Superman, as we all know, is an 
alien from Krypton who was sent to Earth in a 
rocket by his father Jor-el (a.k.a. Marlon Brando) 
during the cataclysm of Krypton. Superman has 
special powers due to Earth's low gravity and its 
yellow sun. The Greatest American Hero (Hin- 
kley) is an earthling who was approached by 
someone from a spaceship and given a magic 
costume plus instruction booklet, which he lost. 

Similarities are numerous. Both characters fly, 
are invincible to bullets, and have abnormal 
strength. Both wear tight leotards with chest in- 
signia and flowing cape. The court, continuing its 
lengthy (though silly sounding) analysis, noted 
that Superman has a blue leotard with red briefs, 
boots, and cape, while Hinkley has a red leotard 
with a tunic top, no boots, and a black cape. Other 
differences were discussed: "Hinkley has the 
ability to fly, but does so carrying a large lantern, 
and on occasion, waves his arms wildly to main- 
tain his course or crashland in a treetop." Hinkley 
also tended to say such un-Superman-like things 
as, "I'm Captain Crash. I navigate like I got hit by 
a can of Raid." 

The judges, struggling through this maze of 
like and unlike elements, finally laid the issue 
bare: Is this "Superman gone astray or a new 
addition to the superhero genre?" The court deter- 
mined that there were no significant similarities of 
plot or story line (although both battled evil- 
doers), and character was the critical aspect. Judi- 




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cial wisdom then \iewed the "'totalus" of attrib- 
utes and traits, concluding. "The total perception 
of the Hmkle\ character is not substantial!) simi- 
lar to that of Superman... Superman looks and 
acts I ike a hra\ e proud hero, w ho has dedicated his 
life to combating the forces of evil. Hmkle> looks 
and acts like a timid reluctant hero, who accepts 
his missions grudging!) and prefers to get on with 
his normal life." 

What does this case tell the enterprising w riter/ 
filmmaker' Can we simply tally up similarities 
and differences? ABC clearly was using Super- 
man as a model. The overt intent w as to exploit the 
financial success of Superman. The costumes and 
powers of the two figures are broadly alike. Both 
fight on the side of good. However, these are not 
the only two superheroes in tow n, as devotees of 
comic books and Saturday morning television 
realize. Thus. Hinkley "merely showed some su- 
perhuman traits now w idely shared by the super- 
hero genre." To classify superheroes as a genre 
makes it generic — a generalized idea. Thus, w here 
supermen leap and abound, copycats have more 
leeway to imitate, and the trivial peculiarities of 
the Superman persona and storyline become the 
critical indicia of infringement.* 

Another significant New York case is Walker 
vs. Time Life Films Inc. (784 F.2d 44), better 
known as Fort Apache: The Bronx. Thomas 
Walker, a former New York City police officer, 
w rote a book entitled Fort Apache based upon his 
experiences as a lieutenant assigned to the forty- 
first precinct in the South Bronx during 1971 and 
1972. This precinct was popularly nicknamed 
"Fort Apache" because of its violence. Walker 
published his book in 1976 and over 100.000 
copies were sold. Meanwhile, producers David 
Susskind. Gill Champion, and Martin Richards, in 
association w ith Time Life Films, Inc.. released a 
film in 1 98 1 entitled Fort Apache: The Bronx. The 
film, like the book, also depicted police life in the 
South Bronx precinct. 

Walker sued Time Life Films. Susskind. Cham- 
pion. Richards, and screenwriter Hey wood Gould, 
claiming copyright infringement. The district court 
denied Walker's claim and he appealed to the 
Second Circuit. The issue again was "substantial 
similarity." Walker argued that his book and the 
film were similar in plot, theme, dialogue, setting, 
pace, and sequence. Walker had submitted an 
expert's affidavit in the district court, w hich high- 
lighted and listed similarities between the two 
works. Time Life had presented its own expert 
affidavits by a literary analyst, contrasting the 
structure, mood, characters, themes, and episodes 
of the two works. 

The appellate court stated that it had both read 
the book and viewed the film. It then observed. 
"At the most general level, the movie and the book 
tell the same story. Both recount the experiences 
of policemen battling the hostile environment of 



the 41st precinct." The court then observed that 
Walker's book stylistically "unfolds as a chron- 
icle of police work" and moves "anecdotally from 
one event to the other" in "a non-stop recounting 
of brutal crimes and police action." It ends w ith 
Walker's transfer to a different precinct. 

Next, the court examined the film in depth, 
suggesting that it "focuses" on Murphy, a 1 2-year 
veteran of the force, and "centers around" Mur- 
phy's affair with a drug-addicted nurse. It con- 
trasts the character of Murphy and Walker (much 
as Superman and Hinkley). Murphy is indepen- 
dent-minded, cynical, divorced, and a patrolman 
insubordinate to authority. Walker is practical, 
happily married, a lieutenant who never disobeys 
an order or questions a superior. In his appeal 
Walker countered these differences with his own 
list of likenesses: 

Both the book and the film begin with the murder of a 
black and a white policeman with a handgun at close 
range: both depict cockfights, drunks, stripped cars, 
prostitutes and rats: both feature as central characters 
third or fourth generation Irish policemen who live in 
Queens and frequently drink: both show disgruntled, 
demoralized police officers and unsuccessful foot chases 
of fleeing criminals. 

The Second Circuit downplayed these likenes- 
ses as "scenes a faire." or "stock themes," linked 
to particular situations and the genre of police 
fiction, or just "scattered analogies." It further 
characterized the film as "an intensely plotted 
work w ith multiple, vivid suspenseful, and inter- 
related storylines" — cop-killer manhunt. 
Murphy's love affair, precinct captain's struggles. 
Walker's book was "diary-like. . .without signifi- 
cant character or plot development." Possibly the 
three-dimensional Technicolor world of the film 
was experienced differently by the judges than the 
two-dimensional black and white of Walker's 
book. The court, not surprisingly, concluded its 
reasoning by upholding the district court's find- 
ing of no "substantial similarity" and thus no in- 
fringement. The opinion also dismissed the many 
common incidents of book and film as being 
based on actual events at the precinct, and thus not 
protectible expression of an original idea or crea- 
tion. 

One might speculate whether, if positions were 
reversed in this lawsuit. Walker might have been 
found liable for copyright infringement. The 
Apache decision continually implies that the cine- 
matic "copy" is far superior to the "original," both 
dramatically and artistically. Walker later tried to 
appeal the Second Circuit decision to the U.S. 
Supreme Court. His petition for review was de- 
nied (476 US 1159). 

Let us now travel a few thousand miles to view 
the West Coast version of "substantial similarity." 
A well-publicized case was Olson vs. NBC (855 
F2d 1446), or The A-Team. Ernest Olson, who 
wrote a treatment and screenplay** for a televi- 
sion pilot entitled Cargo, sued NBC. MCA, Inc., 



* The defense of parody is also implicit in this case 
though not discussed at length in the court 's opinion and 
beyond the scope of this article. 



'*The issue of NBC's access to the screenplay was not 
disputed for purposes of the appeal. 



and Stephen Cannell Productions for copyright 
infringement. Olson claimed that the television 
series The A-Team had copied Cargo. 

The trial was held in U.S. District Court in 
California. A jury decided that the evidence showed 
infringement, and it brought back a verdict in 
favor of Olson's claim. However, the federal 
district court judge reversed the jury, declaring 
that their decision was unreasonable as a matter of 
law. Olson then appealed to the U.S. Court of 
Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (California). The 
appellate court dealt with the question of "sub- 
stantial similarity" of Cargo and A-Team by 
applying a two part test: 1. an "extrinsic" test or 
listing of common factors and, 2. an "intrinsic" 
test — the response of an "ordinary reasonable 
person." 

The A-Team, beloved by many Mr. T fans, is an 
action adventure series featuring Vietnam vets. 
The four members of the team are Peck (suave con 
artist and reluctant member), Baracas (huge man 
with a Mohawk), Smith (leader and cigar-smok- 
ing strategist), and Murdock (pilot). Three of the 
group are in flight from an unjustified court mar- 
tial. Their arch enemy is Colonel Lynch, a career 
military man they know from Vietnam. Cargo is 
also an action adventure series. Its three main 
characters are also a group of Vietnam vets: Van 
Druten (smooth intellectual and reluctant mem- 
ber). Brown (huge man resembling ex-football 
player Rosie Greer), and Tronski (leader and pilot 
who smokes). They act under the threat of unjus- 
tified drug charges from Colonel Kilgore, a mili- 
tarist who they know from Vietnam. 

At trial, Olson's expert dissected the two works 
and listed similarities such as character, relation- 
ship, and plot elements. Olson alleged that the A- 
Team ensemble of characters and series concept 
overall closely paralleled his Cargo team: reluc- 
tant Peck is a clone of reluctant Van Druten; Black 
Baracas is based on Black Brown; A-Team's 
leader Smith and pilot Murdock are a "split" of 
Cargo leader and pilot Tronski; evil Colonel Lynch 
derives from Cargo's evil Colonel Kilgore. Both 
series are quickly paced, comic. These are loud 
echoes of familiarity. 

The Ninth Circuit disposed of the plot and 
setting comparisons handily, pointing out that, 
even if the basic plot premise is alike, there is 
insufficient similarity of sequence and setting. 
For example. Cargo team fights drug dealers in 
New York and Columbia; A-Team fights merce- 
naries in Mexico. It added that any other similari- 
ties are just "familiar scenes and themes which are 
among the very staples of modern American lit- 
erature and film" (such as gun battles and chases, 
apparently). Certainly the court had only one 
episode of Cargo to compare with several dozen 
episodes of A-Team .which weighted the analysis. 
The court acknowledged that there were "loose 
correspondences" between the ensemble charac- 
ters of the two series, but it believed that the Cargo 
characters were thinly drawn and differed in sig- 
nificant ways from those of A-Team. Only unusu- 
ally distinctive characters could be protected. 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1989 



Thus, "Van Druten is neither Malvolio nor Mickey 
Mouse; Brown is neither Sir Toby Belch nor 
Superman. The Cargo characters are depicted 
only by three or four line summaries in the Cargo 
treatment." The decision concluded that there was 
no "substantial similarity" under the "extrinsic" 
test, and consequently none under the "intrinsic" 
test. 

Wait a minute. Isn't the "intrinsic" test the 
response of a reasonable person? Didn't the jury 
in fact find "substantial similarity" and return a 
verdict for Olson? Is it so impossible to recognize 
major commonalities between Cargo mdA-Teaml 
The appellate court admitted that a reasonable 
jury might have found "substantial similarity" in 
the "total concept" and "feel" of the two series. 
Yet it asserted that those very real similarities 
arise from the use of common ideas and unpro- 
tectible "scenes a faire"; there is no "substantial 
similarity" of protectible creative expression. A 
footnote to the decision does suggest that one 
could "conceivably" find substantial similarity 
based upon the "concatenation of scenes a faire as 
distinctive as the occurrence in both works of a 
cigar smoking man firing a machine gun from the 
back of a truck." 

Maybe only great literature and drama de- 
serves protection, along with living legends like 
Mickey Mouse. Again, one wonders if the court 
would have decided differently if A-Team were 
suing Cargo. Perhaps not. Perhaps plaintiff/ap- 
pellant Olson erred in hiring a New York City law 
firm to pursue his appeal in a California federal 
court. One may always speculate. 

I have described several cases that suggest that 
filmmakers and television- or screenwriters have 
a lot of room to emulate successful works, particu- 
larly if they vary plot elements and modify a 
characterization or three. Lawyers representing 
you in this kind of litigation apparently are given 
quite a bit of ammunition to blast a charge of 
"substantial similarity" to smithereens. Still, "sub- 
stantial similarity" seems a slippery eel that might 
provide a shock when you least expect it. 

Sheldon Siporin is a member of the New York 
State Bar Association Committee on Motion 
Pictures and Television and is in private practice 
as an attorney. 

© 1989 Sheldon Siporin 



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JUNE 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 15 



Heading New German Cinema 



Karen Rosenberg 



New German Cinema: A History 

Thomas Elsaesser. Rutgers University Press, 430 pp.. S50 (cloth). SI 4.95 
(paper) 

Case Histories 

Alexander Kluge. translated by Leila Vennewitz. Holmes and Meier, 224 
pp.. SI 9.95 (cloth) 

West German Filmmakers on Film: Visions and Voices 

Eric Rentschler. editor. Holmes and Meier, 262 pp., $45 (cloth), SI 9.50 
(paper) 



When I first started to explore film culture in West Germany, I was struck 
by the apparent ease with which many directors moved from writing to film 
and back again. Perhaps the most famous example is Alexander Kluge. a 
man of many media. His story Anita C, in the collection Case Histories. 
formed the basis of his first feature. Yesterday Girl (Abschied von gestern), 
made in 1 965-66. But it's no scenario. The wit in Kluge's metaphors shows 
that his talent is verbal as well as visual. 

Likewise. Eric Rentschler's anthology of manifestos, open letters, ar- 
ticles, and reviews from the early 1960s to the present demonstrates how 
active West German directors have been in the realm of nonfiction. And it 
presents a very foreign picture. For example, in the United States, it is 
considered in dubious taste for directors to respond in print to negative 
criticism. (Artists are supposed to be above all that, or to complain in 
private.) In West Germany, the premises of critics are apt to be questioned 
by directors unconstrained by our taboos. In their writings. West German 
filmmakers strike poses, wage polemics, and cement alliances — by con- 
scious choice, "in the 1960s and 1970s, we loved the nouvelle vague 
directors." Hartmut Bitomsky. a filmmaker and editor of the now-defunct 
magazine Filmkritik, told me last summer in West Berlin. "But we criticized 
them for giving up writing after they became successful as filmmakers. It 
was very important for us to continue writing while filming, and vice versa." 

To a certain extent, all this writing bespeaks a profound dissatisfaction 
with West German film culture among directors. In the early 1960s, that 
dissatisfaction centered around the lack of production and distribution 
opportunities for German directors. With a series of state-legislated funding 
measures — well-chronicled in Thomas Elsaesser' s new book — many Ger- 
man filmmakers finally got a chance to make features and air them on late- 
night television. 

But. according to Elsaesser, state subsidies also created a double bind for 
West German directors. They had to prove their independence so viewers 
wouldn't regard their creations as "official art." Yet they couldn't give the 
hand that was feeding them too sharp a bite. Elsaesser argues that film- 
makers, by maintaining that cinema is an autonomous art form, avoided the 
uncomfortable topic of patronage and the obligations and restraints that it 



engenders. For him, the Neo-Romantic image of the filmmaker engaged in 
compulsive self-expression was primarily a strategy designed to win the 
loyalty of viewers who were also obsessed with defining their identity. 

Elsaesser's theory explains the rather annoying penchant of some well- 
known West German directors for posing as lofty geniuses. Much film 
criticism has merely echoed such claims. Elsaesser is to be congratulated for 
demystifying them. While I would never ignore the self-serving urge for 
fame and fortune, I wouldn't exaggerate it either. The typical German 
director still feels marginal to Hollywood, since U.S. productions dominate 
the German film market. And. since the industry offers up a notoriously 
limited number of terms for debate, the popularity of Hollywood movies has 
profound political repercussions, outside the U.S. as well as within. So 
German filmmakers, in fighting for themselves, have also been waging a 
battle for an alternative political culture. 

There was, and is, a desire on the part of many German filmmakers to 
create a lively, oppositional public sphere — an arena where ideas, beliefs, 
and images interact. This goal was articulated in The Public Sphere and 
Experience (1972), an influential book by Kluge and sociologist Oskar 
Negt, which will be published in an English translation by the University of 
Minnesota Press next year. In the meantime, the fall 1 988 issue of the journal 
October (No. 46) provides a brief overview of Kluge's theory, as well as 
excerpts from his and Negt's book and an excellent bibliography. 

In light of Kluge's theory, the production of provocative books and 
essays by West German filmmakers should be seen, at least in part, as 
attempts to dislodge the public from the passive consumption mode. The 
goal of many directors/polemicists was not just cash in the box office but 
critical minds in the theater. If, in practice, filmmakers often floundered 
when trying to create movies that would engage the spectator in a kind of 
dialogue, that's not surprising. Elsaesser faults many directors for overex- 
plicitness. a condescending attitude to their characters or an ingratiating 
style. But one might also note the difficulty of building a cinema of ideas in 
post-fascist Germany. "We had no fathers, only grandfathers," Werner 
Herzog once said. That overstatement meant that the post-war generation 
felt it could not use much of their parents' wisdom, for it had been tainted 
by Nazi values. 

"I do not believe that there is anywhere else where people have suffered 
such a loss of confidence in images of their own, their own stories and 
myths, as we have," wrote Wim Wenders in another hyperbolic statement, 
which is included in Rentschler' s book. Some directors, including Wenders. 
found a surrogate father in the United States — one they could rebel against. 
And in Hollywood movies they also discovered the mark of German emigre 
filmmakers, a legacy they could draw upon. 

If the manifestos of post-war German directors are reminiscent of the 
polemics of artists of the teens and twenties, that is no coincidence. There 
was a conscious attempt to reclaim a critical tradition in arts and letters that 
had been buried (sometimes literally ) by the fascists. That meant going back 
to Rosa Luxemburg. Bertolt Brecht, and Kurt Tucholsky, as Elsaesser notes. 
Bitomsky and others add the Marxist cultural theorists Walter Benjamin and 
Theodor Adomo to that list. "The way to the cinema was paved with books," 
German director Helma Sanders-Brahms said, with unmistakable distaste. 



16 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1989 




Der Rosenkonig (The Rose Kin0, by Werner Schroeter. 

Courtesy Goethe Institute 



~* vjt» «# **■ 



in her article '"New German Cinema, jeune cinema allemand, Good Night' : 
A Day in Oberhausen, 1982," translated by Rentschler. 

The image of a torch being passed from grandparents to grandchildren 
appeared at various points in post-war German film history. Werner Herzog 
walked, mind you, from Munich to Paris with the cans of his film Kaspar 
Hauser in his knapsack to visit the aged Lotte Eisner. Elsaesser is right on 
target when he stresses the deliberate symbolism of this act. 
That the historian of Expressionist cinema, emigre Jew and woman, friend of F.W. 
Mumau and Fritz Lang, personal assistant to Henri Langlois (founding father of the 
Cinematheque and patron saint of the French nouvelle vague) should — on what 
might easily have been her deathbed — give a young German film-maker her 
blessing, by assuring him that his work was once more "legitimate German culture," 
could itself be read as a founding myth of origins and identity. 

Similarly, it is often said that Adorno, who also spent the war in 
emigration, got Kluge into filmmaking by introducing him to Fritz Lang. 
Kluge has explained that Lang, who was being pushed around by his 
producer, could not really help or inspire him. Adorno was skeptical about 
Kluge's talent as a filmmaker and a fiction writer and about the potential of 
movies to avoid the homogenization of ideas. But the invocation of the 
names Lang and Adorno certainly helped create an aura around the emerg- 
ing director. A myth of origins, after all, does not depend on mere facts. 

As Elsaesser points out, the claim of filmmakers to be the inheritors of 
the best in German culture had another effect: It justified state expenditure 
on film. Politicians and voters could feel that their money was going to a 
worthy goal. German cinema, argues Elsaesser, implicitly presented the 
case that West rather than East Germany is the legitimate heir to the critical 
tradition in German thought. And film, which is easy to transport (compared 
to theater or fine art) and which requires relatively little translation, could 
argue this case to the world. I might add that film could prove that West 
Germany had overcome its Nazi past. A people that had once exterminated 
homosexuals has not only funded gay filmmakers Rosa von Praunheim and 
Werner Schroeter but toured their works abroad under the auspices of the 
Goethe Institute (a retrospective of the work of Ulrike Ottinger is being 
planned by the Goethe Institutes of the U.S. and Canada for 1990). I can't 
imagine the United States Information Agency doing the same for U.S. 
filmmakers who attack homophobia or present other-than-mainstream 
images of same-sex relationships. 

One thesis of Elsaesser' s New German Cinema is that post-war German 
filmmakers were more successful in winning government support than in 
gaining large numbers of viewers at home. Only certain "target" audiences 
were won: Wenders appealed to melancholy, alienated men, rather like his 
heroes; films by feminists attracted women; the avant-garde, generally not 
funded by television and the state, spoke to other avant-garde artists; leftist 
filmmakers talked to the generation of 1 968, etc. (An advantage of Elsaesser's 
book over others on New German Cinema is that it discusses feminist, 
documentary, and experimental film, not just the most famous names.) To 



Elsaesser, this splintered film scene suggests that filmmakers have failed in 
theirmission. To me, it says that the public has yet to be educated about what 
a participatory public sphere would look, feel, and sound like. I'd be willing 
to bet that ordinary citizens have not even been informed that dialogue with 
a film is possible. All the blame should not fall on filmmakers, especially 
those who have written about their goals, for that state of affairs. Rather, it 
says something about the way schools teach — how they explain the con- 
cepts of art and democracy. And this is not a German problem alone, of 
course. 

With the post- 1 968 backlash, the radical political concept of a participa- 
tory, oppositional public sphere has met a lot of resistance, including from 
kids who'd rather try for entry into the elite than expend their energy on risky 
attempts at social change. In Germany, the under-30 generation has turned 
away from many directors of the New German Cinema. I heard a lot of praise 
for Steven Spielberg from young Germans last summer, and I saw long lines 
for Dirty Dancing. But from that experience I'm not willing to conclude 
with Elsaesser that New German Cinema's political program has collapsed 
and that it offers "no aesthetic concept, other than a homemade kit of ideas 
borrowed from Cahiers du Cinema cinephilia of over 30 years ago or from 
the other arts." This sounds like the "stuck in the sixties" epithet North 
Americans use to push each other to the right. I don't think that Kluge's 
dictum that "spectators must all become collaborators," for example, should 
be dismissed so glibly. 

Rather than losing currency, the idea that art is an open form which 
demands the participation of the viewer/reader in creating meaning is 
gaining ground. Mikhail Bakhtin, as well as Brecht and Benjamin, made 
that point long ago, and it is finally catching on among academics and 
journalists in film, art, and literary circles. Whether this theory is one more 
fashion, to be replaced soon by another, remains to be seen. How long it will 
take for the concept to get into common parlance is yet another question. But 
the role of the New German Cinema in keeping the idea alive should not be 
underestimated. 

Karen Rosenberg is a writer whose work has appeared in Sight and Sound, 
the Nation, the Boston Globe, In These Times, and elsewhere. Her latest 
article on German fdm. "In the Eye of the Beholder: Poetic Documentaries 
about Technology." appeared in the February/March issue o/Technology 
Review. 

© 1989 Karen Rosenberg 




Photographers at the 
funeral of Gudrun 
Enslin, a member of 
the so-called Baader- 
Meinhof gang, in 
Deutschland im 
Herbst (Germany in 
Autumn, 1977-78), a collective film on which Alexander Kluge, 
Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Edgar Reitz, Volker Schlondorff, and 
other directors identified with New German Cinema collaborated. 

Courtesy filmmakers 



JUNE 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 17 




"We Are Demolition Artists" 
An Interview with Alexander Kluge 




From the indepen- 
dent television 
series Ten to Eleven. 

Courtesy filmmakef 



Yvonne Rainer and Ernest Larsen 

West German filmmaker Alexander Kluge made his second visit to the 
United States last October. In New York City to speak at Anthology Film 
Archives, first whistlestop of an extensive tour of his retrospective sponsored 
by the Goethe Institute, he was taking a short break from his current project 
as producer of a weekly TV show. 

It may be a measure of the still largely anti-intellectual bias of critics, 
audiences, and distributors in the U.S. that Kluge's work is so poorly known 
here. Despite a career spanning 25 years in which he's produced something 
like 40 films (some of them film festival prize-winnners), he still gets the 
"Alexander who?" treatment. Every other major West German director of 
his generation would get the Uptown retrospective razzmatazz. 

Perhaps not unconnected to this oddity is the fact that Kluge is the least 
conventionally narrative and the most consciously political filmmaker of 
that generation. Considered in this light, we could also put this incompre- 
hension down to our apparent inability to absorb any cultural product 
lacking generic packaging. It's not that a Kluge film doesn't have a story to 
hang onto for dear life — -it often has six oreight stories, along with obliquely 
specific or meditative narration, and tinted silent movie footage, and faked 
documentary footage, opera (lots of opera), and "real" documentary foot- 
age, and interviews, and so on. It might be that Kluge's refusal to supply the 



connections among these disparate elements unsettles all too thoroughly 
our preconceptions of what a film is. 

This was, in fact, one of the things we wished to talk to him about. He 
spent several hours with us, speaking excellent English, and would seldom 
settle for a simple fact or description when a good metaphor would be much 
more interesting — would unite apparently disparate realms of discourse. 
His effortless heterogeneity of reference might be related to the heteroge- 
neity of his everyday existence. He is a trained lawyer and, as such, perhaps 
the principal person responsible for the success of the organized struggle for 
independent filmmaking in Germany. A former student of Adomo, he is a 
teacher and film researcher. He is a prize-winning author of fiction and a 
neo-Marxist theoretician. He is the father of two children. We failed to ask 
him the hard questions about childcare. 

□ □ □ 

Yvonne Rainer: How do you finance and distribute your films? 

Alexander Kluge: That is a complicated question. For 25 years we have 
been developing the tradition of New German Cinema, which is not possible 
any more. When the [Helmut] Kohl government took power in 1982, it 
killed the possibilities for independent film on the market. Market influences, 
especially in film theaters, made for what could be called a kids' picture 
market, which made it impossible to recover money invested in serious 



18 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1989 




Both stills from the independent television series 
Ten to Eleven. 

Courtesy filmmaker. 



films. Therefore serious filmmaking is not independent anymore but highly 
subsidized by public funds. As a consequence, the majority of independent 
filmmakers have tried to find other ways to make cinema. Channel Four in 
Great Britain serves as an example of coexistence between television and 
independent filmmaking. We are now attempting to establish an independent 
television system in Germany, and return to the cinema later. 

Ernest Larsen: You haven't been producing films for some time, then? 

AK: For the last three years I have produced only for television. But we are 
doing there what we wanted to do in cinema. We have started over again 
with Lumiere and Melies and make pre-Hollywood films — films before 
1907. We combine the documentary style of Lumiere and the fictional style 
of Melies, the Viennese school of modern music and all the richness of film 
history to reconstruct film history once more. It's our experience that in film 
you have flourishing independent movements for two or three years. And 
then commercial influence comes in and rationalizes everything, making it 
more effective. Then it dies. Therefore, film never has enough time for 
incubation. But we can repeat and reconstruct everything, as Walter Ben- 
jamin explains, once more. Although you can't reconstruct exactly what 
happened in film history, you can find relatives or cousins or ancestors of 
what existed. 

EL: What's to protect those means of production from being recuperated all 
over again by commercialization? 

AK: It will be. But you can defend against that for quite some time. For 
instance, I and some of my friends are both filmmakers and lawyers. And 
we know our weapons, we are armed people. 

EL: Do your television films reach wide audiences? 

AK: They have very good ratings. 

YR: After showing on TV, do they reach the theaters? 

AK: I hope so. For the moment it's difficult because we don't have much 
money. Since half the work is produced on video rather than film, we have 
to wait for the advent of a high-definition image. 

YR: When you say "we," who do you mean? 

AK: We have organized ourselves. We have organized all opera houses and 
theaters in Germany, book publishers and independent filmmakers. In other 
words, the traditional media — not newspapers or broadcast artists — the 
books, cinemas, theaters, and the circus. They belong together. And on 
television they look very different. This is understandable because originally 
they had nothing to do with television. 

We also have a partner, the news magazine Der Spiegel. They take half 
our time. Together, we have a common license with two big private satellite 
consortia: SAT-1 and RTL. We would not have gotten licenses if Der 




Spiegel had not cooperated with us. Although we'd like to make news 
programs, we can't, so we cooperate with them. 

EL: How long has this program been on? 

AK: We've worked for three years. We started with a quarter of an hour, and 
now we have two hours every week. 

YR: Do you make a segment, and another director makes a segment? 

AK: Exactly. 

YR: Are these segments related? 

AK: We believe very much in cooperation and autonomy. For instance, 
Fassbinder, Schlondorff, Reitz, I, and others made the film Germany in 
Autumn together. There was no super-director. No one was totally responsible. 
But each of us was responsible for his 20 minutes. 

YR: Is your TV show organized like Deep Dish TV or public access in the 
U.S.? 

AK: Not exactly, since these are private systems, private property. We can 
exclude anybody we don't want. And it's completely professional. 

EL: As far as I know, this wouldn't be possible in this country. 

AK: But it's the same concept as New German Cinema, you see. It's a lot 
of political work. We have about 60 lawyers. Even while I'm here I have to 
telephone Germany constantly because the CDU [Christian Democratic 
Union] attacks our licenses because of Der Spiegel's programs. They will 
accept art, but not political news programs. 

YR: Are the two parts separate — what Der Spiegel does and what you do? 

AK: On Sunday evenings there is Der Spiegel's program, and on Monday 
evenings we have our program entitled Ten to Eleven. On the other program 
Der Spiegel's part and the art magazine part are integrated. 

YR: Do you ever collaborate with them? 

AK: Of course. For instance, we made the film Der Kandidat [The 
Candidate, 1980] when [Franz Joseph] Strauss, the prime minister of 
Bavaria, tried to become chancellor of Germany. Later, we and Der Spiegel 
made a film about how he died and was buried. He was buried like the King 
of Bavaria. It was the most elaborate burial Germany has seen since the big 



JUNE 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 19 




Opening credits for the independent television 
series Ten to Eleven, broadcast weekly via the West 
German satellite consortia SAT-1 and RTL. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



Nazi state burials. Our part doesn't look like television or television news. 
It looks like experimental film, but a very calm form of it. 

YR: How many filmmakers are involved in these projects? 

AK: Quite a lot. Werner Herzog. Volker Schlondorff. and a lot of not so 
famous filmmakers, who are the majority. 

YR: Are there any women'.' 

AK: Helka Sander. Margarethe von Trotta. . .about half of the programs are 
made by women. One of the future programs will be about Doris Dome. We 
don*t sign our names to the programs. After a while you might notice Christa 
Wolf or Schlondorff on screen. Or you might recognize a filmmaker's style. 
But we don't put names on the programs, so we don't have a hierarchy. We 
believe in the point where contradictions come alive, where two things are 
separated, the seamline. There you get 50 percent chaos and 50 percent good 
structure. You need not organize there. This is where invention happens. 

YR: Do women have their own programs? 

AK: Yes. Gertrud Koch, for instance is one of our producers, working with 
Heide Schlupmann and others — especially in Frankfurt. 

EL: Do you have a master editor for this TV program, someone who edits 
the programs every week? 

AK: Yes. We have one editor from New York — Marcel Peragine — and a lot 
of computer editors. In Arriflex's factory in Munich there is a film 
laboratory, and one floor above is our one-inch video studio. We take the 
negative from downstairs and take it upstairs and so on. 

YR: Are the programs mixtures of documentary and fiction? 

AK: Yes. We have two programs. One is a variety show. Before 1907 you 
always had a variety show made up of short pieces, primitive diversity — 
abbreviated operas, compressed operas, compressed novels. And all these 
types, we try to reconstruct, but by means of modern music. For instance, 
Luigi Nono is a modern composer. He made 40 two-minute operas for us — 
Madame Butterfly, two minutes. L'Africaine. two minutes. He makes the 
music, and we make the pictures for this music. So it's a television opera. 
It looks tiny, and tiny means short. This is one type. The other type of 
program we make is extremely long. For instance. Edgar Reitz made the 1 8- 
hour-long Heimat. Long documentaries are another idea. We've made only 
two of these: Two Hundred Years of French Revolution and one about the 
student protest movement of '68. Right now that one is nine hours long. This 
longer form is shown late at night, from 10 o'clock in the evening to four 
o'clock in the morning. 

We love the second type. Ten years from now it may be be possible to 
have an epic form without time limitation. But it depends on balance, 
whether narration and music can help you bear so much documentary stuff. 



The problem is that human beings are not interested in reality, or in truth, 
by itself. 

EL: I was buying a ticket for Ophuls' Hotel Terminus, and someone came 
up and asked the ticket-taker, "Is this a documentary or is it a movie?" 

AK: One can never tell, and it's not necessary to separate them. It's an 
administrative approach to say, "This is documentary, and this is fiction." 
In reality there are no different departments. I have eyes, and I have wishes. 
One can recognize reality, and the other wants to have Utopia. Together both 
make something real. For me it's a subjective point. It's also objective. 
That's our credo. 

YR: Aside from the length of these works, do you work differently thinking 
about the TV set? Do you conceive your shots differently than when 
w orking with film? 

AK: No. We try to incorporate the experiences and methods of film history 
into television. For example, we tried to remove the zoom lens of an 
electronic camera and use fixed optics. 

YR: Which has always been more of a European film tradition. 

AK: Yes, because the zoom compromises, while with fixed optics each lens 
has its own history. Some have a history of 500 years, a tradition derived 
from astronomy and film. These lenses have character. 

YR: The telescope has no zoom? 

AK: Exactly. And I'm very impressed with such instruments, but we use 
these optics and get a very different picture. They can produce depth. 
Normal television in Germany is like wallpaper — only foreground — and 
we are interested in perspective, in making it a miniature of the theater. 

YR: But that can be reactionary in a certain way. 

AK: I know. In art you can dissolve disciplines once you have arrived at 
modernity. But in television, you haven't yet arrived at modernity. 

YR: You mean it's primitive? 

AK: It 'saprimitive way of distributing things. It's ameans of administration. 

YR: Do you think you're bringing television up to modernity? 

AK: Yes. It should not talk about operas. It should not try to bring operas 
out of the opera house to a place where operas cannot live. Television should 
show opera in perspective. For instance, nineteenth-century opera looks 
quite different from the perspective of good modem composers. Nobody 
could stand 90 minutes of it. For three minutes no one even notices how 
complicated it is. It's simply beautiful. 

EL: Is it the perspective of the audience you're thinking of? 

AK: In the evening people are tired, so they want to have three minutes of 
Verdi, and three minutes of noise, and Kant for another three minutes. And 
then want to have some information, and so on. It's the same as Babylon — 
like the other television — but it is a reconstructed Babylon. 

EL: How is the effect of your Babylon different for audiences? 

AK: The effect is accepted. They even accept long documentaries. 

EL: Does it change them? 



20 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1989 



Alexandra Kluge, the filmmaker's sister, plays the 
main character in Abschied von gestern 
(Yesterday Girl, 1965-66), based on the film- 
maker's story Anita G. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



AK: Television, like a window, can change you. 

EL: Does it change their consciousness? 

AK: Yes. But it's different. Here, in Greenwich Village, I look through the 
window and can become calm. You could sit me down here and I would 
write stories. But not everywhere could I do so. That makes a difference. 

YR: Are you talking about providing a field for contemplation but not 
directing people's consciousness? 

AK: Consciousness has several functions or capacities. One is to represent 
the world. If you look at a watch, it represents time. Not really, but it pretends 
to represent time. And if I look through the window — a television window 
is something like a window, an artificial window — then it represents what's 
going on in the world. In former times people looked onto the marketplace. 
In Frankfurt, Goethe's mother looked out onto the marketplace, and knew 
what was going on. If somebody didn ' t appear for a long time, he was dead. 
This was the way over the years she shaped a picture of everyday life. Today, 
for the majority, this experience has been replaced by television. One has to 
stick to the ideas and forms of experience of the majority, even if the 
majority is in error. 

EL: Well, not entirely. The majority doesn't stick entirely to the same ideas. 
Or you would just let them watch the same TV they're already watching. 

AK: Well, it's not the same TV if you represent something of real life, of 
experience. Television is not interested at all in experience, it's interested 
in its program. And we avoid the notion of the program; we destroy it. That's 
what we want to do first. 

YR: What do you mean by that? 

AK: Well, authentic experience is not a program. Look, you have the 
movement of your hands. You have a certain intensity. This is authentic; it's 
not a program. That's yourself. I think some aspects of program are 
necessary, you need it like pepper and salt. 

EL: It's an organization of experience. It's always necessary. 

YR: But how is it possible to avoid that? 

AK: We are demolition artists. If you can construct something you can 
demolish it, and you can reconstruct it and demolish it again. 

YR: You have said that cinema has more to do with Punch and Judy than 
with serious art, implying that as serious artists we are, and I quote you, 
"only too inclined to become too easily esoteric." How do you feel about this 
notion of the esoteric now? 

AK: Concerning experience, everything I do as a person will become 
esoteric very soon, of course. 

YR: Why? 

AK: I'm Robinson Crusoe. If I am an artist, I am alone, and individually I 
can work only this way. I'm esoteric like Adorno is, like every artist is. But 
I would like to have camouflage, mimicry. I think it's important not to show 
one is an artist nowadays, because it is a very dangerous status. 

YR: Why do you say that? 

AK: Because in our country art is hated to some extent. Modernism they 
hate. If you had a plebiscite, they would vote against art, against modernity. 




One reason is that art always deals with destruction, it doesn't accept 
experience and habits as they are. Art changes something. It takes marble 
away. It does not add marble. And this is not the way experiences are shaped, 
or how people think experiences are shaped. In the book I wrote with Oskar 
Negt, Public Life and Experience, I stick very much to the concept of 
experience. Human experience is extremely interesting and very artistic. 
Everybody, every human being, is making art without knowing it, they 
make very modern art. In the mind, the senses, in the hands, and everywhere. 
I believe in this, but it is not conscious. If you make it conscious, people 
don't feel secure, don't feel happy. They have never been encouraged to be 
autonomous concerning their own art production or the production of their 
experiences. They are discouraged. But, as an artist, you get this cognitive 
dissonance, because we have the chance, lifelong, to prepare artistic 
business, and know it and have time for it, every day. I don't make my art 
in the evening when I'm tired. I make it when I'm not tired. We have some 
privileges. 

EL: So how do you curb this privilege in order to make what you do a 
communicative act. In other words, prevent it from becoming so esoteric 
that any audience will have trouble, become suspicious? 

AK: It's a balance problem. 

EL: Is it a tactical question? 

AK: It's not tactical; it's a question of character. It's a political question, and 
it's a question of balance. Balance is not only technique. Take the artist as 
someone balancing at the top of a circus tent — perplexed. People can't 
answer to Auschwitz or other matters of worldly experience through artistic 
development, as everybody might think. They can't be more artistic than 
artists are, they can only balance. You cannot do more than balance. If you 
overbalance, you fall. Balance is something you can't increase, and as an 
artist, you can't provide an answer to the cruel experiences that occupy the 
minds of the public. Using a Marxist analysis of the relations of production, 
you have, on one hand, the spectator who can ' t balance on the high wire and, 
on the other hand, artists who can. The audience at the circus admires these 
artists, but also hopes that someone will fall and they have something to talk 
about at home. This would be thrilling. For this cruel part of the audience — 
which has little to do with experience and is not friendly to experience — it's 
a Roman circus. 

EL: But some of that cruelty arises from their disappointed expectation for 
their own lives. 

AK: Right. On the other hand they are demoralized because they also want 
to dominate. As children they thought they could do anything, and now they 
are astonished that they don't and can't do some things. This is one of the 
problems of art. I will always stick to art and love art, but I need some excuse. 
I have to work a little bit, like I pay taxes. Not to the state but to the people, 
I have to give something which makes a difference. 



JUNE 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 21 




Hannelore Hoger as a young circus performer in 
Die Artisfen in der Kirkuskuppel: ratios (Artists under 
the Big Top: Perplexed, 1967). 

Photo Constontin/Connex 



EL: Something that brings you closer to the ground. 

AK: I would be a clown if I was on the ground at the circus. And this means 
a show . It would be rather primitive in appearance. 

YR: Are you talking about making concessions in relation to mass culture? 

AK: It's not a concession, really. If I make a Punch and Judy show, it's no 
longer quite the same as a Punch and Judy show. The laboratory in which 
we w ork contains 2.000 years of painting and perhaps 600 years of music. 
We have very good friends in the form of the dead artists who have already 
done something. It's not only the famous artists, but also those who make 
Punch and Judy show s— the early movie-makers like Porter. Edison, and so 
on. We should study them, and reconstruct something of their work. That's 
not reactionary, because it changes its substance if you bring it authentically 
into the nineties. Then it's something quite different from 1914. 

EL: Some of the strategies in your films — disjunctive narrative, combining 
fiction and documentary, voiceovers, using old films, using characters who 
don't really seem to be characters, who take up different lives— do you see 
these strategies as intervening in what you described as the spectator's 
tendency to produce his or her own meaning? Do you see these techniques 
as making alternative readings of political events or political problems 
possible? 

AK: They are not really techniques, it's more than that. It 's an authentic way 
of making experiences. Our senses do it without it being necessary for us to 
know how to do it. Only after our senses have done something, do we change 
these results by interpretation. Take, for instance, the example of [West 
German] Chancellor [Helmut] Schmidt's visit to Washington. It was a non- 
event. It didn't exist, although it pretended to exist. Subsequently, the press 
people made it into an event w ith their comments and writing. All they did 
was describe some slight differences between the President [Carter] and the 
Chancellor, who didn't really speak to each other. They made a formal act. 
without any meaning, and hated each other deeply. This non-event was 
made into an event. My work is to destroy it again. Like Socrates would say, 
"I don't know anything." I know — I stick to — what I don't know. 

EL: Do you take it apart for a viewer, deconstruct it? 

AK: Yes, a separate interpretation. 

EL: All right. Here I am watching your film of this event, this non-event. 

AK: You would be disturbed after a while. 

EL: And I would start to attach my own significance to your film of this non- 
event. Am I licensed to make any interpretation I want? Do I look at this 
event as a political subject, or simply as a viewer? Is any interpretation 
possible? 



AK: No. You can either be disoriented, or you can overtake the concept I 
have. 

EL: Let's say I'm disoriented; that happens to lots of people sometimes. 
People say. "What is this? I can't make a connection here." 

AK: This is a price I have to pay. You can't have both interpretation and 
noninterpretation. At first you won't understand either the interpretation or 
the evidence of your senses. Consequently, it is a world that is extremely 
unknown. We have a completely disoriented way of perceiving; we have 
learned something wrong. 

EL: Your film is teaching us the wrong thing? 

AK: Yes. and that is the subject of the movie. We learned something wrong, 
and now we can't just releam. It's very difficult. If you address the issue of 
modernity, it's very necessary to include everything from the nineteenth 
century, the eighteenth century, and the twentieth century — to put everything 
on the table, to bring it all into the discussion and test it. For instance, 
everything done by the Bauhaus group we have to test. We should not say 
we are the party of modernism, because this modernism was defeated in 
1933 and has been, to some extent, useless and has now been defeated by 
postmodernism. Therefore, we have to reconstruct it, but with differences. 

YR: But postmodernism does not do this. Can you talk about this? 

AK: It's not analytic at all. 

EL: It refuses to interpret. 

AK: Yes, and I think it's necessary to stick to analysis and synthesis and to 
all these rich capacities human societies have and art has. Nothing in art can 
be forgotten. We don't believe in new ideas. New ideas are Catalinarian. It's 
Roman — Cicero shouting at Cataline — always having new ideas. This 
principle of denying reality — to be anti-traditionalist in a Catalinarian 
way — we recognize very quickly. It's something very easy to analyze and 
recognize. We saw that in the student movement of '68. 

YR: I'm interested in what you would have shown of Schmidt and Carter 
in Washington if you had filmed them. 

AK: I would have made time measurements, like Mr. [Frederick Winslow] 
Taylor, the time-motion analyst, did. From eight o'clock in the morning, 
when Schmidt gets up. what does he do? Has he any time to think? Who 
thinks for him? Who writes his speeches? How long does it take him to drink 
his morning coffee? 

YR: You would take him away from the center to show all these peripheral 
details of daily life? 

AK: Yes. He pretends to be doing something else. 

EL: To return to the point about disorientation and demolition. As an artist, 
you have to take the risk of disorienting some spectators because they have 
to unlearn what they already know. 

AK: My mother taught me to be extremely polite, and I hate artists who 
provoke. I think it 's damaging. I don ' t like it when spectators are disappointed. 
I like to think of myself as someone who persuades people, makes things 
easier, like adding music or a little narration to something that's disturbing. 
The audience then has something to do, and they can tolerate disorientation 
a little better. 



22 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1989 




A Frankfurt apartment being demolished 
in In Gefahr und grosster Not bringt der 
Mittelweg den Tod (/n Danger and Dire 
Distress the Middle of the Road Leads to 
Death, 1974, directed with Edgar Reitz). 

Courtesy filmmaker 



EL: The film I think of when you say that is Strong Man Ferdinand, and that 
has a very clear storyline, a very clear narrative, with much less use of 
documentary as an element. 

AK: If you compare that with the original written story, you'd notice that 
half of the experience of Strong Man Ferdinand is lacking in the film. The 
price of narrative film is very high. You lose half of the experience. With 
everyone busy looking at the plot, you can hold the interest of the audience. 
On the other hand, this is not like experience. It's simplified to an extent, and 
everyone can say, "I'm not really like this man." 

EL: Do you want to implicate the spectator? 

AK: You have to implicate, and you have to show that everybody in the 
audience had better be disoriented, because a particle of Strong Man Ferdi- 
nand is in everybody. 

EL: It's inevitable, then, that narrative excludes enormous aspects of 
experience. It's not possible to narrate huge blocks of real life. Therefore, 
it seems that since Strong Man Ferdinand you've gotten further and further 
away from narrative. 

YR: It seems a very singular film in your production history. 

AK: I would love to make a narrative film. I have nothing against narration, 
but not at the expense of experience. I don't want to exclude anything. That's 
both a political stand and an artistic stand. 

YR: Are you're saying that structurally narrative must exclude? 

AK: Yes, but, the contrary of a narrative film is to make distinctions. For 
instance cold — what does cold means? What does hot mean? What does 
witch mean — the witches in Macbeth, the witches in medieval times, the 
witch nowadays, the witch that is part of all of us? "My mother is a witch" — 
what does that mean? There are differences. There isn't one witch. There 
should be distinctions. I think there should be a public interest in distinctions, 
as much as possible. If you notice when people are calm and chatting 
together, they don't speak narratively. They explain slight differences. One 
word leads into the next. There's always a little bit you can add to an 
experience that already exists. And people come to share common experiences 
by making comparisons and distinctions. 

YR: I would like to cover some of the issues that have to do with feminism 
and your work. Why are so many of your protagonists female, when in some 



cases they don't have to be, as in Artists under the 
Big Top'? Leni Peikert could have been male or 
female, right? 

AK: No. I don't think that male beings have their 
own experience, or too much of it. But that's a very 
complicated question. It's more a belief than 
knowledge. I notice that my sister, for instance, or 
my mother, has more experience than I have. 

EL: What kind of experience? 

AK: Chatting. 

EL: Relational experience? 

AK: Yes, all kinds of knowledge. If I ask them 
about stars, they will know more than I do, although I have studied 
astronomy. It's more belief than knowledge, I trust them. 

YR: It's not knowledge, if they haven't studied astronomy. 

AK: They know more. 

YR: Aren't you idealizing, talking about intuition? 

AK: For instance, my five-year-old daughter, I'm convinced, sees an aura 
around us. And if somebody is very tired or becomes ill, she sees this as their 
outer body shrinking. 

YR: How does she express this? 

AK: She avoids these people. She reacts in a way that gives the impression 
that she knows a little bit more of the future, in the next days at least. 

YR: Do you have a son? 

AK: Yes. 

YR: Does he know such things? 

AK: No. But I'm not sure that in childhood the difference is so great. 
Concerning knowledge, I know that all male beings have to bring their 
childish character to explosion. They take part in the tiger games of 
masculine society; they have to negate, to abjure their childlike relation to 
their mother. In Europe young boys don ' t weep. It ' s education, but transmitted 
very early. 

YR: In choosing a female to play the main character in Artists under the Big 
Top, though, this is implicit. We don't see that the way she perceives the 
world is different. How do you represent that? 

AK: We're on thin ice. The film is criticized by the films which never were 
made, not by films themselves or film critics. The history which is made — 
and it's made by male beings — can't be reformed or revolutionized by the 
same male beings in their male organizations that produced it. You can look 
at it from the point of view that was deliberately excluded by the society. 
This might be the proletariat. You can find lots of particles, always a rich 
number of particles on the periphery or in exile, in the diaspora where 
somebody is included/excluded. And this is the fate of female experience — 
that it is excluded verbally, from verbal representation, fragmented. And 
therefore the fragments are more rich. It's one step to a prismatic, a more 
polyphonic standpoint. 



JUNE 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 23 



Chief security guard and assassin Ferdinand 

Rieche. played by Heinz Schubert (left), on the 

lookout in Der Starke Ferdinand (Strong Man 

Ferdinand, 1975-76). 



Photo Constontin 



EL: A pluralit\ of voices' 

AK: An autonomy of all materials. It's not that there is technique on one 
hand and material on the other, but material itself has its autonomous forms. 

YR: There's another point of contention by feminists — that so frequently 
you have a female protagonist who is in an incomplete state, who fails in 
w hat she attempts to do, who is in a state of chaos, who is ineffectual. 

AK: Don't pretend that I could transfer a real female being onto the screen. 
Therefore, that's not really correct. I show that this is only a pretension. 

YR: Yet in contrast to this provisional female you have a male narration — 
your voice explaining and commenting — which can be seen as more 
coherent, whole. 

AK: I know that, but it's a very private voice, it's not official. Sometimes 
I have speakers in the short films who sound official. I never imitate a female 
voice. When I'm doing the commentary in my private voice, this is myself. 
the son of my mother if you want, with my private opinions. Everybody can 
tell that it's not a woman. 

EL: Even if it is your voice — and I agree when you say the narration sounds 
like it comes from a real person — but you're still the director with a capital 
D. and this is your vision. This voice still assumes authority. 

AK: Notice that I introduce the commentary by making useless remarks 
merely to introduce the voice. For instance, "It's raining," and you can 
already see that it's raining. Or. "She sits down." These words are not 
necessary, they are only used to get acquainted. For the most part the actress 
does the contrary. In the case of In Danger and Dire Distress the Middle of 
the Road Leads to Death there is a voiceover commentary, not by me. but 
two women. In Die Patriot in I play a dead knee — always from the perspective 
of the dead knee. But the dead knee doesn't exist. I had to assume a voice 
that was not the voice of one of the actors, because the actress doesn't need 
this knee; she has one. In Power of Emotion it's similar because the 
perspective of the feelings is collective. Feelings are not administered by 
gender. Do you accept that? Some people might say this amounts to a 
colonization of my actress. I understand this argument but I don't have 
actors, they don't behave as actors. My sister is not my actress, she is my 
sister. She's a doctor of medicine, she doesn't know acting. So I'm very 
cautious about that. 

YR: Are you talking about questionable professionalism as a mediating 
factor? Miriam Hansen has talked about the secondary identification that 
takes place in your films, rather than the primary identification that occurs 
in mainstream cinema. 

AK: Neither the protagonist nor myself is the center of the film, and I think 
these can be counterparts. If you were to attend a shoot, you would notice 
that I don't direct the performers very much. I observe them much more than 
I direct them. I'm not a lion tamer, not at all. 

YR: Do you think it's possible for a dominant class or sex or gender to speak 
for the oppressed? 

AK: No. Therefore. I don't believe I should shape characters. If I had the 
opportunity and money to make effective films in the conventional way, I 
could do that, and for five minutes I might use such conventions in an ironic 
way. It's the same as Schoenberg making melodies if he was forced to. But 




he doesn't think that's an authentic expression. Now I try not to speak — 
neither for myself nor for someone else. But there are checks and balances 
of meanings. This is a prismatic effect. Here you have one picture, here you 
have the other one. Neither one has anything to do with the other. And the 
cutting, which is visible, holds the meaning, the contrast. If I succeed in 
making a good scene in a film, it consists of unseen pictures. 

YR: Spoken, described pictures? 

AK: Empty spaces, pictures only the spectator sees. They are not in one 
picture and not in the other one. Schoenberg invented the invisible picture. 
In Moses and Aaron, there is one moment when Israel had a moment of 
silence for the Egyptians who died — complete silence. In good performances 
there is complete darkness in the opera house. This is a moment where there 
is nothing. It's an invisible picture. You should not make picture of 
everything. 

EL: What is that moment for? For the audience to contemplate? 

AK: It's nothing. Every human being is capable — because cinema is older 
than cinema — of making something from nearly nothing. But you need 
some counterpoints. If you have two counterpoints, you make a third thing 
that is yours. The autonomous impression of a spectator is never synonymous 
with what she or he sees. The spectator can make either anarchy or the 
structure I try to invent. 

EL: What political meaning do you ascribe to that? 

AK: Freedom, if you want. This is exactly what Karl Marx meant by "rich 
social relations." This is what we carry within us without knowing it. 

EL: To what extent does this become reality? Or is it only a mental state? 

AK: Not at all. It is everywhere. You bury it in your body. I don't know 
exactly where it is. Therefore the knee, because it's something that doesn't 
exist. It's a function, but you can't say it's only a function. If you've lost it, 
you notice it's more than that. But it's not a body, it's a link. It's apossibility. 

EL: But if it is freedom or liberation, why doesn't it accumulate? 

YR: It seems to be always fading away. 

AK: You can't accumulate freedom itself or liberation itself. It can be a 
vessel. If you think about television, you always have an apartment — people 
who live in the city and a landscape — and the television set. If you go to the 
cinema, you have the surroundings of the cinema, and therefore you can put 
all these questions in a political dimension, in an organizational dimension, 
in an architectural dimension, and in the architecture of the mind. This is our 
job, to some extent. 

I am a little bit cautious about behaving like an artist, because artists 
would like to play like children sometimes, but they can't build houses. The 
Bauhaus was mainly concerned with architecture. That was the center. 
Around it were all the other arts, then teaching of the arts, then living, then 



24 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1989 




divorcing. Getting rid of some traditions is perhaps the answer. But you 
can't give this function — helping people to live and to organize experi- 
ence — to a single medium. And it's always the same question — not to 
exclude experience, not to exclude Jews, women, proletarian workers . . . not 
to exclude that labor and all of our ancestors who did a lot of that labor. In 
music we have the possibility of going back and starting once more, with 
more time. For instance, in Schoenberg we can find sounds that occur in 
Beethoven's late string quartets or Wagner. 

YR: Is that why you use so much classical European music? 

AK: Right. Wagner's complete operas are a horror. Only Hitler could be the 
German of Wagnerian operas. Ninety percent of the German people didn't 
understand that music but thought, "If the Fuhrer goes there, everybody has 
to adore it." This is extremely bad, so now we make — with the help of Luigi 
Nono — so-called opera perspectives for television. We put the microphone 
only in the direction of some string parts and the drums. It sounds like a cruel 
kind of chamber music. With such sound we made an opera clip on Wieland 
der Schmied, a variation on the Daedalus myth for which Wagner has 
written a libretto but did not compose music. 

YR: Is this music from the perspective of the "music workers"? 

AK: Right. It is rather optimistic, believing that labor can liberate itself. But 
it's more interesting than Siegfried. Labor can't learn anything from 
Siegfried, but it could learn or find quite a lot of interest in this man who has 
the capacity, even though he's lame, to escape. It's not like Engels says — 
that it's useful to have hands because we use them to work. That's not true 
at all, because animals, who are our ancestors, first use their hands to grab 
their mother's neck. Our hands are used for this very personal kind of 
imprinting or identification, more personal than recognizing a face. This is 
the way you invent. In such a way we make just six minutes, for instance, 
with original music from Wagner. 

YR: Do you ever spell out that is is about the liberation of the worker? 

AK: No. For instance, I could make a mock interview with a real journalist 
and a real archaeologist that treated these myths as if they were real. 

EL: You did that in The Blind Director, where you interviewed the producer 
of the film. 

AK: The spectator will laugh at that but, while still laughing, starts to 
believe it. If it is real, as Walter Benjamin says, it exists materially. The 
spectator can approach, by laughing. 

EL: And derive pleasure? 

AK: Yes. But by being analytical. 

YR: By analytic, do you mean taking a didactic approach? 

AK: I like didactics, but what I meant here was not didactic. I believe only 
what my senses know. I believe that myth is reality. I don't know how to 



After a rally for Christan Democratic Union candi- 
date Franz Josef Strauss during his campaign for 
chancellor of West Germany, in Der Kandidat (The 
Candidate, 1979-80, codirected with Stefan Aust, 
Alexander von Eschwege, and Volker Schlondorff). 

Courtesy filmmaker 



describe that, because I use only documentary methods. 

EL: Do you see your film work as a contribution to the creation of a 
proletarian public sphere? 

AK: No. I am the son of a doctor of medicine. I'm not proletarian at all. 

EL: Then let me drop the word proletarian and say oppositional. 

AK: That's true. There is public life and the opposition or counter-public 
life. I understand quite a lot about counter-public life. The excluded 
proletarian status is repeated within the subject. If you take feelings you feel 
ashamed of, they work all the time, but they have slave status. Some of our 
senses, some of our feelings, some of the combinations of mind have slave 
status and some are dominant. You have within yourself once again class 
struggles you see outside. Sometimes the struggles have vanished as a 
phenomenon outside, and you still carry them inside. They have to do with 
hotels, have to do with toilet habits, with sexuality and so on. It's very 
complicated because they vanish, but they never give up. No suppression 
can be definite. 

EL: Do you mean final? 

AK: Yes. It appears at another place, with another meaning. You have to 
translate everything back to its sources. A little bit like with Freud — you can 
let the patient speak. You come back to the situation and everybody, the 
chorus, is leaving the room one after the other, until one person is left. Now 
you can talk with that person and finish something which was not quite 
finished. And then you take another one, and so on. The art process is 
analogous with the clinical cure of psychoanalysis, the talking cure, but 
without power, without manipulation. 

This is also the method of analyzing social substance which has vanished 
and can only be brought back by invisible pictures. But this is very 
complicated. The book I wrote with Negt, Public Life and Experience, is 
being translated into English. Now we are preparing a very short book on 
policy — about what is left of the concept of policy if the politicians don't 
make policy, if they are another kind of administration. They pretend to 
make politics, but they don't. They don't do anything. Now politics can't 
manage either. 

EL: It's got to go elsewhere. Where has it gone? 

AK: Like in the song of Marlene Dietrich. 

EL: Where have all the flowers gone? 



Yvonne Rainer is currently working on a film script titled Privilege. 

Ernest Larsen's videotape, Out of the Mouth of Babes, coproduced with 
Sherry Millner, is included in the Biennial Exhibition at the 1 989 Whitney 
Museum of American Art 

© 1989 Yvonne Rainer and Emest Larsen 



JUNE 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 25 



FESTIVALS 

A FESTIVAL OF ONE'S OWN: 

1989 WOMEN IN THE DIRECTOR'S CHAIR 




Elfrieda M. Pantoga 



The 1 989 Women in the Director's Chair film and 
video festival brought to mind Kim Chemin's 
examination of the possibility of creating a new 
mythology for women in Reinventing Eve: "We 
are a domesticated species. We need to take back 
some of the wildness in us." In its eighth year, the 
Women in the Director" s Chair festival continues 
to be a showcase for work by women who are in 
the process of creating a new mythology. And. in 
a field that continues to be dominated by men 
(although that is changing slowly ). what could be 
more outrageous — or wild — than women using 
their creative powers to define who they are and 
the world around them, rejecting stereotypes and 
cultural expectations. Providing a forum for these 
new voices and images is one of WIDC's strengths. 
What is emerging from this forum is a body of 
work impressive in its scope, quality, and variety 
of contents and styles. 

The theme of the 1989 festival was "risk." This 



followed the festival committee's review of all the 
films, where they found that risk-taking was the 
connecting thread, festival director Nancy Partos 
explained. "Risk is represented in so many as- 
pects of film- and videomaking. from the finan- 
cial backing to the personal side of exposing one- 
self to artistic risks in deciding to make experi- 
mental works or committing yourself to a genre." 
Panel discussions on the risks of film and video 
production, exhibition, and distribution set the 
tone for open discussion and debate in a noncom- 
petitive atmosphere that continued throughout the 
five-day event. 

During two panel sessions, filmmakers, dis- 
tributors, and exhibitors shared their ideas and 
accounts of their experiences. Diane Kitchen, 
whose personal documentary about the Ashanika 
tribe in Peru, Before We Knew Nothing, was 
shown at the festival, talked about the process of 
decision-making she engaged in. "[Filmmakers 
are] making choices constantly — about how to 
approach the material. My decision was to make 
a more personal film, to try to transfer the feel of 



Australian women worked the 
farmlands when their men went off to 
fight in World War II. Sue Maslin and 
Sue Hardisty's film on the subject, 
Thanks Girls and Goodby, was one of 
80 works shown at the 1989 Women in 
the Director's Chair festival. 



Courtesy filmmakers 



the place and the people." she said, noting that in- 
stead of standing back from her subjects her 
"inclination was to get as close to the people as I 
could when I was filming them." In doing so, she 
risked exposing herself. "If [the subjects] are let- 
ting you in. you have to let them in too." 

Fern Cristell from D.E.C. films in Toronto 
talked about the difficulties the organization 
encountered in building its new 250-seat, state-of- 
the-art multi-media theater, the Euclid, where it 
will exhibit independent and alternative works. It 
is scheduled to open in May. "D.E.C. distributes 
films from Asia. Africa, and Latin America and 
distributes films on environmental, peace, and 
social issues of all kinds — the concerns of women, 
gays, and lesbians," she said, noting that the 
organization ' s biggest challenge is to educate and 
develop audiences. 

Zainub Verjee said that one of her greatest risks 
as a staff member of Vancouver Women in Focus 
Arts and Media Center was her decision to speak 
out about the organization's relative neglect of 
promotion of the work of women of color. She 
then told how last year she and a colleague. Lor- 
raine Chan, began organizing In Visible Colours, 
a film and video festival featuring the works of 
women of color and Third World women, which 
will be held next November 15 to 19 in Vancou- 
ver. 

Taking the theme of risk in another direction. 



26 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1989 



Barbara Scharres, director of the Film Center of 
the Art Institute of Chicago, sparked a debate 
when she suggested that by showing films at 
women's festivals, women film- and videomakers 
risk having their work categorized. "I personally 
have always felt a little bit of resistance to the idea 
of segregating women's work. In the past there 
has been more of a reason to do that, to bring 
awareness to women's film, but right now at least, 
I don't want to see women's work separated," said 
Scharres. She then urged the filmmakers in the 
audience to seek a variety of venues. During the 
discussion that followed, videomaker Margo Starr 
Keman, who had two tapes in the festival, seemed 
to sum up the general feeling of the audience in her 
response. "This is an incredibly important experi- 
ence for me as a 61 -year-old videomaker. It isn't 
that I feel marginalized. I feel validated and con- 
firmed." Gretchen Elsner-Sommer, one of the 
festival organizers, added that getting to the point 
where women's films become integrated into the 
mainstream may take a long time and festivals like 
WIDC are part of that process. She encouraged 
the audience and panel members to continue think- 
ing and talking about this issue. 

The atmosphere of open-ended discussion was 
enhanced by the festival's physical layout, which 
included two screening locations and a hospitality 
room. Some films and videos were screened in the 
200-seat Chicago Filmmakers Theater on Chi- 
cago's North Side, a media center which shows 
independent and experimental works. A second 
video screening room with two monitors and 
seating about 100 was set up in a sound studio a 
few doors away from Filmmakers. The hospitality 
room, where filmmakers and viewers gathered to 
exchange information, relax, and talk, was set up 
in the Chicago Post Gallery, adjacent to the lobby 
of Filmmakers. For the duration of the festival, the 
gallery featured an exhibition of art by women. 

About 80 works were shown at 24 screenings 
over a period of five days. Last year's six-day 
festival attracted close to 1 ,000 people. This year's 
five-day festival drew about 1,200, according to 
festival committee member Patricia Martin. Press 
coverage of the event, according to Partos, in- 
cluded articles in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago 
Sun-Times, Chicago Reader, Chicago magazine, 
the gay and lesbian press, as well as community 
and college newspapers. 

Seven of the festival screenings were sold out, 
including one comprising films about relation- 
ships, a documentary program, and two evenings 
featuring lesbian-related films. Several other works 
in the program also stood out. Among these were 
Cynthia Cohn's Love struck, a sometimes humor- 
ous, sometimes chilling, but always compelling 
look at obsessive relationships that offered a sur- 
prisingly upbeat resolution, and Marily Wulff's 
short Little Stories, a witty, offbeat look at child- 
hood memories. Another was Margo Starr Ker- 
nan's poetic experimental video, Breaking and 
Entering, which explores depression and anxiety 
in the nuclear age and suggests creativity as an 



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avenue for escape. On a different note, Kitchen's 
Before We Knew Nothing captures a way of life in 
the rain forest that is quickly disappearing. 

Two moving and informative films about the 
unsung accomplishments of women were Sue 
Maslin and Sue Hardisty 's Thanks Girls and Good- 
bye, about the women who worked on farms in 
Australia to raise food for the war effort during 
World War II while the men were fighting, and 
Diane Garey 's Sentimental Women Need Not Ap- 
ply, a history of the nursing profession. Both films 
used interviews interspersed with archival film 
footage. Maslin, who traveled to the festival from 
Australia, was one of several filmmakers attend- 
ing who stayed for discussion with audience 
members after the screenings. She said that few 
people in Australia even knew about the efforts of 
the "land girls," and until recently their contribu- 
tion to the national defense had not been recog- 
nized. 

Casi Pacilio and L.M. Keys' feature film. Out 
of Our Time, drew a sell-out crowd. The black- 
and-white film interweaves the stories of two 
women — a contemporary lesbian feminist and 
her grandmother, who was part of a literary circle 
in 1930. Stylish and frank, with an quirky humor, 
Out of Our Time focuses on women helping women 
reach their creative potential as well as offering a 
positive, nonstereotypical image of lesbians. 

Two works in the program offered very differ- 
ent, but equally compelling, views of aging. Sue 
Marx and Pamela Conn's captivating documen- 
tary Young at Heart is a tribute to two engaging 
octogenarians with a zest for life despite personal 
tragedies. Cecilia Condit's fictional videotape 
Not a Jealous Bone creates a mythology of aging 
through one woman's pain and anger, and. finally, 
her triumph. Also, two outstanding works on 
social issues that I screened as a festival judge in 
the documentary category were Inside Life Out- 
side, a documentary by Sachiko Hamada and 
Scott Sinkler that follows the plight of a "family" 
of homeless people who live in a shantytown on 
New York's Lower East Side, and Nancy Kalow's 
Sadobahies: Runaways in San Francisco, a raw, 
disturbing look at street kids. 

The festival also paid tribute to the National 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1989 



Margot Starr Kernan's Breaking and Entering 
is a poetic experimental videotape set in 
California during the Cold War. 

Courtesy videomaker 



Film Board of Canada and its Studio D, which has 
been devoted to the production of films for and 
about Canadian women. Among the works shown 
from this group were Doctor, Lawyer, Indian 
Chief, by Carol Geddes, the Academy-Award 
winner // You Love This Planet, by Terri Nash, 
and Flamenco at 5:15, by Cynthia Scott. 

The overall impact of showing this range of 
work by women was one of validation. What 
emerged were fresh, energizing images of women 
seldom seen in the mainstream, accompanied by 
an invigorating discussion of ideas seldom val- 
ued. The challenge for filmmakers and organiza- 
tions engaged in this kind of work continues to be 
building new audiences. The process may be 
slow, but the building materials are available as 
networks of support develop. Such networks — 
along with their counterparts in literature, music, 
and art — play an important role in bringing to 
light new mythologies, not just for women but for 



everyone. 

Elfrieda M. Pantoga is the arts and entertainment 
editor and film critic for the Milwaukee Sentinel. 



IN BRIEF 



This month's festivals have been 
compiled by Kathryn Bowser, direc- 
tor of the FIVF Festival Bureau. Listings 
do not constitute an endorsement & 
since some details change faster than 
we do, we recommend that you 
contact the festival for further infor- 
mation before sending prints or tapes. 
If your experience differs from our 
account, please let us know so we 
can improve our reliability. 



Domestic 

Chicago International Festivalof Children's Films, 
Oct. 13-22, IL. Thoughtful, well-made children's en- 
tertainment programs suitable for children under 13 
are basis of competitive fest, now in 6th yr. Last yrover 
100 films from 16 countries screened, w/ audiences of 
close to 1 0,000 & many European & US distribs of film, 
cable & home video attend, as well as media librarians 



& educators. Jury, as well as filmmakers, critics, educa- 
tors & psychologists, incl. children 6-12; children in 
audience cast votes for most popular film. Cats, by 
length: features (over 60 min.), shorts 15-60 min., 
shorts under 15 min. All cats accept live action & 
animation; TV productions accepted in cats of single 
program & programs from series. No instructional/ 
educ. work accepted. No entry fee. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, 3/4"; preview on 1/2". Deadline: July 1. NY 
contact: Susan Delson, (212) 571-1852. Contact: Deb- 
bie Berger, Facets Multimedia, 1517 W. Fullerton 
Ave., Chicago, IL 60614; (312) 281-9075; telex: 20- 
6701; fax: (312) 929-5437. 

Columbus International Film Festival, Oct. 25-29, 
OH. Held for last 36 yrs, fest accepts films, TV spots & 
video produced since 1987. Cats: art/culture, business/ 
industry, education, health/medicine, religion/ethics, 
social studies, travel. Awards: Chris statuette to top 
winners in each cat. (doc feature winners qualify for 
Academy Award entry), Bronze Plaque to runners-up 
& certificates of honorable mention. Special awards 
incl. top President's Award, award for screenwriting 
(add'l $35 entry fee), Christopher Columbus Award to 
most original, innovative production, Ben Franklin 
Award in Media of Print cat. (add'l $35 entry fee). Entry 
fees, based on length, range from $70 for shorts to $350 
forTV series. Formats: 16mm, 1/2". Deadline: July 15. 
Contact: Nancy Maxwell, Film Council of Greater 
Columbus, 1229 W. 3rd Ave., Columbus, OH 43212; 
(614) 291-2149. 

Film Arts Festival, Nov. 2-5, CA. Regional showcase 
for new ind. film & video by N. California artists only. 



BLUE»COYOT E#FILM#FESTIVAL 



The Blue Coyote is seeking short films for participation in the upcoming Blue Coyote Film Festival to be held in New York City 
during the week of December 3, 1989. Blue Coyote is accepting films in six categories: Narrative, Animated (including Picsolated 
and Computer generated), Documentary and Experimental, Music Video and Student Work. In order to maintain the fairest 
judging standard the festival has subdivided each category into particular time groups. 



® 



•Maximum time on any film is 30 mlnntp« 

NARRATIVE: (5 minutes or under), (5-30 minutes) 
ANIMATED: (5 minutes or under) 
DOCUMENTARY: (5 minutes or under), (5-30 minutes) 
EXPERIMENTAL: (5 minutes or under), (5-30 minutes) 
MUSIC VIDEO: (Time is only determined by song length) 
STUDENT WORK: (5 minutes or under), (5-30 minutes) 

•Deadline for submission to the festival is September 15, 1989 



® 



The Blue Coyote was created to allow gifted young filmmakers the opportunity to have their work seen and appreciated not only 
for the time of the festival, but also the chance to have his/her work placed on a winners' compilation video to be distributed 
nationally under the auspices of the festival. Blue Coyote is also working in conjunction with several large cable networks to 
enable festival participants the further chance of having their work viewed on television. 

Through our sponsorship Blue Coyote is also offering a cash and/or service and/or equipment prizes to the winners as well 
production grant. ' 

Completed work must be submitted for viewing on 1/2" or 3/4" video tape. Rough cuts will be accepted if the work in progress can be 
assured of completion by October 15, 1989. (Works in progress may still be shown at the festival if the judges feel that it is 
appropriate, but will not be eligible for awards) — All films entered must be accompanied by a brief synopsis as to content and 
context (Judges will make final decision as to category placement). Please provide personal contacting information on the same 
sheet. 

Final judging will begin after the September 15 deadline, but films will be viewed as they are received -- so early submissions are 
greatly appreciated. 
Entry fees for work submitted are $35.00 for all work (in any category), and $30.00 for any student film submitted. 

Please make check or money orders payable to Blue Coyote Inc. Entries and payment to be sent to 217 East 85th Street, Suite 340, New 
York, NY 10028. Telephone (212) 439-1158. 



JUNE 1989 



THE INDEPENDENT 29 



Now celebrating 5th jnrw\ . test programs more than 50 
works ot all lengths A genres, arranged in thematic- 
groups according to submissions received. Special 
teature is open-screen evening, showing shorts submit- 
ted bv artists on Ist-COHK basis the previous week. No 
entr> fee Formats: 35mm, 16mm. 3/4'. 1/2". Contact: 
Robert Hawk. Film Arts Foundation. 346 Ninth St.. 2nd 
fl.. San Francisco. CA 94103; (415) 552-0602. 

Intercom ism sikui Film and Vmeo Festival, Octo- 
ber, IL. Competitive test tor industrial films in cats ot 
dental science, documentary . drug abuse, environment, 
education, fundraising. fashion, music video, human 
relations, medicine, personal counseling, public rela- 
tions, recreation, religion, research, safety, sales/mar- 
keting, training, travel/transportation. Films/tapes pro- 
duced from Mav 1988-Jul) 1989 eligible. Handling 
^0-120. Formats: 35mm. 16mm. 3/4". 1/2". 
Deadline: July 3 1 . Contact: Intercom. Cinema Chicago, 
415 N. Dearborn St.. Chicago. IL 60610-9990; (312) 
644-3400: telex: 936086 CHI FEST CGO. 

Ne» York Lesbian and Ga>. Experimental Film 
Flstiv al. Sept. 1 8-24. NY. 3rd edition of expanded fest 
w ill be held at Anthology Film Archives. Audiences of 
over 1.500 in '88 made it one of largest experimental 
film events in NYC. Over 2.000 saw selections from 
fest in 1 2 cities in US. Canada & Europe. Entries should 
have significant gay presence/perspective. Entries by 
people of color. Honorarium: SI 00. Program last yr 
incl. 62 films by 58 filmmakers. Formats: 16mm. super 
8; preview on cassette. No entry fee: incl. return post- 
age. Deadline: July 1. Contact: Jim Hubbard. NY Les- 
bian & Gay Experimental Film Festival. 503 Broad- 
wav.Rm. 503. New York. NY 10012: (212) 865-1499. 



Foreign 



Kukhuis World Wide Video Festival. September. 
The Hague. Netherlands. One of world's premiere int'l 
festivals for ind. video, presenting over 100 tapes, 
installations, performances & video-related new me- 
dia. Now in 8th yr. fest has become major meeting place 
for videomakers. producers, distribs & large audience. 
Competition awards 4 productions, incl. 1 installation. 
Entries also run on local cable TV. Formats: 3/4", 1/2", 
2". 1". Betacam. Deadline: June 30. Contact: Kijkhuis 
World Wide Video Festival. Noordeinde 140, 25 14 GP 
Den Haag. Netherlands: tel: (070) 644805. 

Klagenfurt International Jlvenale for Young 
Film and Video Amateurs. Aug. 24-27. Austria. Young 
people under 26 yrs invited to submit nonprofessional 
work, to be judged by young jury. Awards incl. 1 Gold 
Award (1st prize). 2 Silver Awards (2nd prize). 3 
Bronze Awards (3rd prize), other special prizes. All 
participants receive certificate of participation. Cats by 
ages: up to 15 yrs: 15-18. 18-26. Formats: 16mm. super 
8. Deadline: July 31. Contact: Organtsationkomitee- 
Juvenale. F.X. David. Fischlstrasse 55, A-9020 Klag- 
enfurt. Austria. 

London International Film Festival, November. 
England. 1989 will mark 33rd yr of invitational "festi- 
val of festivals," known for presenting highlights of 
yr's int'l cinema to British audiences of over 60.000. 
Last yr more than 140 features & 35 shorts from 35 
countries shown. Sidebar lectures & screenings also 
presented. According to director Sheila Whitaker. more 
& more foreign buyers attend & press coverage is 
"enormous." Special small video section inaugurated 2 
yrs ago features productions from North & Central 



America, Britain. France. Italy & Spain. Fest is non- 
competitive, but awards Bntish Film Institute prize for 
most original & imaginative film. Fiction & documen- 
tarv accepted, anv lengths, all genres. All entries must 
be British premieres. No entrv fees. Formats: 70mm, 
35mm. 16mm, 8mm. 3/4". 

Fest historically has expressed commitment to US 
independent films & this yr will present US selections 
in a special section. FIVF will cooperate with fest 
director Sheila Whitaker in selecting these films. Pre- 
view cassettes (3/4" & 1/2" only) will be collected at 
FIVF office, sent to London in group shipment & 
returned to NY after screening. For info & appl., con- 
tact: Kathryn Bowser. FIVF. 625 Broadway, 9th fl.. 
New York, NY 10012; (212)473-3400. Deadline: July 
1 . After that, entries may be sent until Aug. 1 to Eng- 
land: Sheila Whitaker. director. London International 
Film Festival, National Film Theatre, South Bank. 
Waterloo. London SE1 8XT. England; tel: (01) 928- 
3535; telex: 929220 NATFIL G; fax: (01) 633-9323. 

Montreal World Film Festival. Aug. 24-Sept. 4. 
Canada. As N. America's premiere competitive fest. 
Montreal, now 13 yrs old, attracts huge int'l crowds for 
each edition (over 280.000 reported last yr) & shows 
large number of films (356 last yr: 232 features from 47 
countries & 124 shorts). Official competition awards 
Grand Prize of the Americas by 8 member int'l jury. 
Shorts accepted for competition must be under 15 min. 
Other sections this yr: Hors Concours (out of competi- 
tion ): Indian Cinema of Today , Latin American Cinema 
of Today; Cinema of Today & Tomorrow (new trends); 
Panorama Canada; TV Films; Tributes. Adjunct 6 day 
Int'l Film, TV & Video Market last yr had 850 partici- 
pants. Entries must be Canadian premieres, completed 
in 12 mos. prior to fest. Formats: official competition: 
70mm. 35mm; other sections also accept 16mm& 3/4". 
Deadline: July 14. Contact: Serge Losique. fest direc- 
tor. Montreal World Film Festival. 1455 de Maison- 
neuve W., Montreal. Canada H3G 1M8; tel: (514) 848- 
3883/933-9699; telex: 05-25472 WOFILMFEST; fax: 
(514) 848-3886. 

Okomedia International Ecological Film Festi- 
val. Nov. 1-5. W. Germany. Contemporary ecological 
films focus of competitive fest. now in 6th yr. Nature 
films, didactic films on conservation & environmental 
issues, animated films accepted. Special emphasis 
changes each yr: this yr focus will be environmental 
films from N. America, particularly ones dealing w/ 
more recent US/Canadian ecological issues & ecology 
in 3rd World. Accepted filmmakers invited to fest to 
show films & lead discussions. Int'l jury confers cash & 
other prizes. Attended by TV programmers, distribu- 
tors, film critics & journalists. Formats: 35mm, 16mm. 
3/4". Deadline: July 15. Send tapes to US contact: Heidi 
Knott, c/o Loma Knott, 4038 Moratalla Terr.. San 
Diego. CA 92130; (619) 755-6788. Address in W. 
Germany: Okomedia Institute. V., Miinchhofstr. 12. D- 
78 Freiburg. W. Germany; tel: (0761 ) 309 39. 

Riena/International Festival of Films on the 
Environment and Nature. Sept. 26-Oct. 1, France. 
Held in 17th century town of Rochefort-sur-mer. com- 
petitive fest will present large selection of short films 
participating in competitive section and in late evening 
screenings of feature films. Entries should relate either 
to nature or pollution, ecosystems, etc. W/in fest frame- 
work, int'l fest of industrial films on environment — w/ 
separate jury of scientists, industrial